Counselors helping Fox workers cope

October 16, 1990|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Evening Sun Staff

With the help of a team of psychologists and counselors, workers at Fox Chevrolet in Woodlawn are trying to shake off the horror of a shooting rampage Friday that resulted in the deaths of two co-workers and the suicide of the gunman.

"It's like losing a member of your family," William Hurwitz, president of Fox Automotives, said yesterday. "Some people are so shocked by what they saw, they haven't gotten back to normal yet."

Hurwitz said the Baltimore County Police Department's Critical Incident Support Team, which provides psychological services and counseling for victims or witnesses of traumatic experiences, returned to Fox yesterday to help workers, especially those who witnessed the shootings. The group was also at the dealership on Security Boulevard Friday.

"The psychologists said some people might get back to their work patterns, but some people who don't eat a lot will eat a lot. And those who do eat a lot won't eat a lot, and some will have headaches and can't sleep at night," Hurwitz said.

The counselors will be accessible for as long as needed for those workers who cannot cope with the tragedy, Hurwitz said.

About 3 p.m. yesterday, it seemed like business as usual at the dealership. Workers answered phones and talked to potential car buyers in the showroom. But some just stood around in a daze.

"It's not something you'd get over," said Hurwitz, as he positioned his hands in a prayer-like manner and focused his eyes toward the ceiling. "But it's something you'll put behind you."

Three days ago, police said, William Algernon "Al" Reed walked into the service bay area at Fox shortly before noon, took out a 9mm handgun and shot Fox's general manager, the man who had trained him as a mechanic and the service manager who had fired him earlier that week. Then Reed put the gun to his head and killed himself.

The mechanic, Robert B. Daughton, 38, of Randallstown, was fatally shot in the head. General Manager William Bishop, 46, of the 2700 block of Station Road in Middletown, died later Friday at the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore.

David Laird, 35, of Lansdowne, the service manager, remains in serious but stable condition at Shock-Trauma, a hospital spokesman said.

At 10 a.m. yesterday, Hurwitz said he and about 100 Fox employees attended Daughton's funeral at Sol Levinson and Bros. Inc. funeral establishment on Reisterstown Road. Fox paid an undisclosed amount of money for the services, he said.

The car dealership, which usually opens at 7 a.m., opened after noon, he said.

Funeral services for Bishop were being held today at Zion Lutheran Church in Middletown, Frederick County.

Hurwitz said Fox employees are greatly affected because they are like a family. Most employees have been there for at least 10 years. Laird, for example, has worked there for 10 years, Daughton for 18 and Bishop for 16.

Reed was fired last Wednesday when he refused to do corrective work for no pay on a car that he was supposed to have fixed earlier and got paid for. Reed insisted he hadn't worked on the car at all.

When Reed left after the firing, "He wasn't angry," Hurwitz said. "It was very amicable."

"How can one person's problems. . . ?" Hurwitz began to ponder and then stopped. "It has affected hundreds and hundreds of lives," he continued.

"To visualize something like that. . . it's devastating."

Early yesterday, Hurwitz said Reed's mother went to the car dealership to pick up her son's tools. "Nobody said anything to her, good or bad." he said, adding that he "felt sorry for her."

Hurwitz had some last thoughts on the shooting.

"On Friday, I thought about what could we have done for this not to have happened. But I think this was out of our control. This could have been any business, any place in the world."

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