Man stabs four at plant

Five other people injured in incident at Harford facility

December 21, 2007|By Mary Gail Hare and Julie Scharper | Mary Gail Hare and Julie Scharper,Sun reporters

A man stormed into a Harford County manufacturing plant yesterday in search of his estranged wife, chased her down and stabbed her along with three other people, the county sheriff's office said.

The man, described as a former employee of the Harford Duracool facility on the outskirts of Aberdeen, fled the business after the stabbings, police said. Having crashed the truck he was driving, police said, the suspect commandeered another vehicle before being arrested a short time later.

Nine people were hurt in the incident, authorities said.

David Daniel Kennedy, 37, of Aberdeen was charged last night with four counts of attempted murder, four counts of first- degree assault and carjacking, said Sgt. Christina Presberry, a sheriff's office spokeswoman. He was also being held on a court warrant in a child support case, Presberry said.

A bail hearing before a District Court commissioner was set for early today.

The estranged wife, 32, and two of the other stabbing victims were reported to be in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Presberry said.

The fourth stabbing victim was said to have minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital. A fifth person was injured when knocked down in the building. Others were hurt outside as they tried to escape, and one person was struck by the suspect's truck as he attempted to flee, Presberry said.

The violence - and the subsequent commotion along Pulaski Highway, which included a truck ramming into a utility pole - stunned workers at businesses there.

"We heard a boom, then all the electricity went out and we heard tires squealing," said Patty Kent, a veterinary technician at a nearby animal hospital, who said she then saw a man in a pickup truck spinning in circles on the highway. "He looked pretty angry, but I thought that was just because he had lost control of his truck."

Later in the evening, several people who said they were Harford Duracool employees emerged from a fire station in Havre de Grace, where, they said, they had been questioned by police and offered counseling. None of the employees, who apparently were brought to the station by bus, wanted to be interviewed.

Some of the employees were still wearing coveralls and protective goggles. One woman's right arm was in a sling. The workers stood in bunches, some smoking cigarettes.

Harford Duracool in the 2100 block of Pulaski Highway manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers and refrigeration systems for the food-service industry, according to its Web site. Attempts to reach company officials yesterday were unsuccessful.

Mike Ryan, vice president of Ryan Furniture, which is next to the Duracool plant, said he saw a man hastily park a pickup truck, with two tires on a curb, and head into the plant yesterday afternoon.

The sheriff's office received a call of the stabbings about 2:30 p.m.

Kennedy, a former employee who was familiar with the layout of the building, entered the facility calling for his estranged wife, police said. They said he saw her speaking to another man and chased her through the building. She was stabbed several times, police said.

After the stabbings, the man jumped into a truck and hit several vehicles and one person on the parking lot of Harford Duracool, as well as a utility pole, causing a brief power outage, authorities said. Witnesses said the man was bloody.

The damaged truck was abandoned in a median strip near the business, police said, and another vehicle was "hijacked." Several witnesses identified that vehicle as a gold Jeep.

The driver of the Jeep jumped out at a stop light, police said.

The suspect drove off in the Jeep toward Havre de Grace, but was apprehended just inside the city limits, authorities said. Kennedy was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injures, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities said they recovered the knife believed to have been used in the attack.

Three of the four stabbing victims were taken to Shock Trauma by a state police helicopter, said Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Firefighters Association and Emergency Services. Most of the wounds were in the victims' torsos, police said.

Four others were taken to area hospitals for treatment, and another injured person refused treatment at the scene, authorities said.

Police said Kennedy lives on Lewis Street in Aberdeen. Neighbors said his mother has lived there for about 20 years and that he lives there off and on. The neighbors declined to be interviewed further.

A man at the Kennedy home, who said he is the man's brother, would not comment last night.

Kennedy was convicted in 2004 of a traffic offense described in court records as a driver consuming an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a vehicle on the highway. A Cecil County judge fined him $523, which he failed to pay, court records show.

In 2003, he was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to drive while intoxicated, court records show.

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