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Guards Angered Man Charged in Ford Plant Shooting, Police Say

November 16, 1996|From Associated Press

NOVI, Mich. — A man charged Friday with murder and 25 other crimes in a Ford plant shooting was angry that security had turned him away when he went to the plant to propose to a female employee, police said.

Gerald Atkins, 29, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Darrell Izzard, 57, a plant manager hit when bullets were sprayed inside the Ford's Casey Wixom plant.

Dressed in camouflage, Atkins allegedly went to the plant in a stolen truck, shot his way past security during the lunch break, and sprayed gunfire inside and outside the plant, police said. The bullets also wounded two sheriff's deputies and a worker.

Police said Atkins, a National Guard member who had been in the Army, hid in a series of storm and sewer drain tunnels for several hours, then surrendered when officers threatened to throw tear gas in.

A "farewell note" had been found in Atkins' apartment, police said, along with guns, ammunition and an engagement ring in the trash.

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