Man Kills 2 and Injures 3 at Law Firm Before He Is Killed by Police





By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 6, 2007
ALEXANDRIA, La., Oct. 5 (AP) — A 63-year-old Baptist deacon shot five people in a law office here on Thursday, killing two, before being killed by police officers early Friday, the authorities said.
Anger over a divorce settlement may have prompted the shooting, officials said.
A special tactical unit used explosives to enter the building early Friday and shot to death the man, John Ashley, after he opened fire, said Sgt. Clifford Gatlin, a police spokesman.
The police said Mr. Ashley repeatedly shot at them during the 10-hour standoff on Thursday, and even shot at a remote-controlled police robot they sent inside. No officers were hurt.
“This is — it’s a shock,” Sergeant Gatlin said. “It’s big for us, because we know everybody.”
Mr. Ashley, a retired city maintenance worker, was found in the back of the law office, which was converted from a single-story house.
The two people who were killed were found in the front of the building, where the police rescued one of the three surviving victims Thursday afternoon. The other survivors escaped on their own.
Sergeant Gatlin said investigators had learned that the shooting was “a possible dispute over a divorce settlement,” but he had no further details.
He said that investigators would need to speak with the three survivors to determine a motive, and that at least two of them were seriously injured.
The shooting rampage, near the Rapides Parish Courthouse in Alexandria, a central Louisiana town of about 46,000, astounded people who knew Mr. Ashley
Mr. Ashley was a deacon and sang in the choir at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, said Freddie Lawson, a fellow congregant.
Charlie Gilmore, Mr. Ashley’s neighbor and a local pastor, said: “I’ve never heard him raise his voice. I never heard of him being violent.”
Chief Daren Coutee of the local police said that officers called Mr. Ashley repeatedly on his cellphone and the office phone throughout the day, but that he refused to talk.
The authorities identified the dead as Camille Giordano II, a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, and Marty Thiels, 50, a postal worker delivering mail to the law firm.