EDGEWOOD, Md. (AP) — A gunman shot five of his co-workers at a Maryland office park Wednesday, killing three of them and setting off a manhunt along the I-95 Northeast corridor, authorities said.
The gunman later drove north about 55 miles (90 kilometers) to Wilmington, Delaware, and targeted a man with whom he had “beefs” with in the past, shooting him twice at a used car lot, police said.
“This is a person with no conscience,” Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy said. “He’s desperate right now.”
Authorities said it wasn’t clear why 37-year-old Radee Labeeb Princeopen fired with a handgun on five of his colleagues after arriving at work as scheduled Wednesday morning. The two wounded colleagues were in critical condition.
Prince is a convicted felon who has 42 arrests in Delaware. Court records showed he had been fired from a Maryland job earlier this year after allegedly punching a co-worker and threatening other employees. He also faced charges of being a felon in possession of a gun, was habitually late paying his rent, was repeatedly cited for traffic violations and was ordered to undergo drug and alcohol counseling in recent years.
The shooting rampage began Wednesday about 9 a.m. at the Emmorton Business Park in Edgewood, Harford County, Maryland, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said. Deputies arrived in four minutes but there was no sign of Prince.
Kevin Doyle of Thornhill Properties said he was getting tools from his truck when he heard screaming and saw three men running from the office park. The men told him someone was shooting and he asked if they had called 911. They said no, even though, Doyle said, they had phones in their hands.
“I think they were just so scared, they didn’t (call 911). They had a look of terror,” he said.
The victims and the suspect worked for Advanced Granite Solutions, which designs and installs countertops, the company owner told The Associated Press. Prince has been an employee for four months, working as a machine operator, owner Barak Caba told AP in a brief telephone interview. Caba was shaken and would not provide additional details.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who spoke at an unrelated event, said authorities in helicopters and on the ground were searching for Prince, who may be driving a black 2008 GMC Acadia with the Delaware license tag PC64273.
The second shooting took place at the 28th Street Auto Sales and Service shop in Wilmington, Delaware. The police chief wouldn’t elaborate the past history the victim and Prince had, other than to say: “This individual knew the people he wanted to shoot,” Tracy said.
The victim was shot in the vicinity of his head and once in the body but was expected to survive.
Police chased Prince briefly after he left the used car lot, but they lost him, the chief said.
Prince was fired from JPS Marble and Granite earlier this year and scared his previous employer so badly that he tried to get a restraining order in February.
At one point, Prince’s former boss Philip Siason said: “He came to see me, cursed and yelled at me about unemployment benefits. I felt very threatened because he is a big guy and very aggressive on me.”
A Harford County District Court judge denied the order, saying the case didn’t meet the required burden of proof.
The FBI is assisting local authorities in the hunt for Prince. Investigators were treating the shooting as a case of workplace violence and didn’t see ties to terrorism, said Dave Fitz, a spokesman for the Baltimore FBI field office.
There was heavy police presence along I-95 in Maryland and Delaware. Cruisers were stationed in medians, and overhead highway signs displayed a description of Prince’s sport utility vehicle and its Delaware license plate.
Since November 2014, Prince has rented a three-bedroom town house in Elkton — about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from his office — with his girlfriend, according to a Maryland property manager.
Prince often paid his rent late, but was always polite and cooperative, said Heather Todd, of Homes for Rent. The company filed eight petitions for nonpayment against the couple, but they always ended up paying and the company never had to schedule an eviction.
Prince faced several gun charges in March 2015 in Cecil County, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a handgun in vehicle. However, the charges were dropped about three months later. It’s not clear why.
Wilmington, Delaware, police said Prince had 15 felony convictions there. In King County, Washington, in 2014, he was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license, according to Komonews.com.
Court records also showed that he was required to undergo drug and alcoholism counseling at the time.
Prince racked up four traffic citations in King County in 2012 and 2013, mostly for speeding.
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Matthew Barakat in McLean, Virginia, and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.