Retired Delaware Officer Mudered
PHILADELPHIA — A Delaware man who believed he and two other investors were bilked out of $500,000 was responsible for a Monday night shooting that killed four people, including himself, police officials said this afternoon.
One of the victims was a former New Castle County police officer and University of Delaware football star.
Vincent Dortch, 44, of Newark, allegedly set up a meeting with Watson International board members, who had office space at Zigzag Net Inc., under the pretense he had potential new investors for the business, Philadelphia Chief of Detectives Joseph Fox said.
As soon as the meeting began, Dortch allegedly pulled out a gun and told the board members – Robert Norris, 41, of Newark, Del.; Mark Norris, 46, of Piles Grove, N.J., and James Reif, 42, of Endicott, N.Y. – to say their prayers. He allegedly shot them, left the board room, then returned to shoot each again, Fox said.
The two people not harmed in the shooting were the two other investors that Dortch believed were bilked. After the shooting Monday night, Dortch reportedly walked them out to a car and told them to drive him to New York so he could shoot a fourth member of the executive board, Fox said.
The unnamed investors, who police do not believe were involved in Dortch’s plan to kill the men, talked him out of returning to New York.
Dortch went back inside the building and, after exchanging gunfire with police, reportedly shot himself.
Watson International is an events planning company that owns and operates a 900-acre former IBM Country Club complex in Union, N.Y., renting out the facility for weddings, conventions and similar events.
Robert Norris was a 14-year-veteran of the New Castle County police department who left the force a year ago, county police spokesman Cpl. Trinidad Navarro said.
“Bob and I were Academy class mates and a good friend of mine,” he said. “No one has anything bad to say about the guy. He was a tremendous loss when he left here. We’re numb.”
Before his law enforcement career, Robert Norris was a halfback on University of Delaware football teams in 1984, 1985 and 1986. His 1,767 career rushing yards still ranks 20th on the Blue Hens' all-time list. As a senior in 1986, he rushed for a team-high 804 yards on 152 carries and scored eight touchdowns as Delaware tied for the Yankee Conference championship, reached the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and finished 9-4.
Norris also had 1,867 yards on punt and kickoff returns and more than 1,200 receiving yards at UD. He was a teammate and classmate of quarterback Rich Gannon, who later became Most Valuable Player in the National Football League with the Oakland Raiders.
The shootings occurred at the offices of Zigzag.net, a marketing firm, police said. The company Web site lists Mark Norris as president and CEO.
Mark Norris and Robert Norris were brothers, said Aaron Haydn McLean, Zigzag’s senior art director. Reif was a member or employee of another company, Watson International, McLean said.
Watson International’s Web site lists a Robert Norris as vice president of business development. A phone number listed on the Web site was disconnected.
The injured victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Thomas Jefferson Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition this morning.
Zigzag has about 15 employees, said McLean, who has worked there for about five years.
The shootings took place in the Philadelphia Naval Business Center, an office park that is part of the old Philadelphia Navy Yard.
It was one of the Navy’s busiest shipbuilders during World War II but closed in 1995. Two years later, a private company, Kvaerner, resumed commercial shipbuilding in a portion of the shipyard, which is now known as Aker Shipyard. Other areas of the Navy facility have been converted to business and office use.
Contact Adam Taylor at 324-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, I realize I mispelled murder wrong in the title. Unfortunately, it won't let me edit it. Please forgive me!
RIP...it's not supposed to end that way...