Investigators Probe Lake Butler Shooting
After a shooting spree that left a well-known man in the community, one of his employees and the gunman dead, the small Florida town of Lake Butler was in mourning Sunday.
Hubert Allen Jr., 72, drove to several locations around Union County, including the headquarters for Pritchett Trucking Inc., and shot the men Saturday, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said Allen shot and killed former co-worker Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado, 28, around 9 a.m. Saturday, then went a short distance and fatally shot his former employer, 80-year-old Marvin Pritchett.
Pritchett's longtime church prepared for a prayer service Sunday evening. The Rev. Art Peterson, who has been at First Christina for 28 years, called Pritchett a charitable man who contributed to many projects, including helping to build the church, in Lake Bulter – a town of about 2,000 an hour's drive southwest of Jacksonville. "There's places all around the community where Martin has helped," Peterson said.
Peterson said he'd met with Prichett's family and counseled them. "It's rough. They're still in a state of shock but they're coping," he said. "They're Christian and are relying on their faith to get them through."
A few minutes after shooting Pritchett, Allen pulled over where another former co-worker was driving a farm tractor, exchanged words with him and then fired one shot from a shotgun, authorities said. That victim, 66-year-old Lewis Mabrey Jr., was in good condition as he was preparing to undergo surgery for a broken arm and other injuries, officials said Saturday.
Not long after that, Allen went to the company's headquarters in Lake Butler and shot 44-year-old David Griffis in the stomach, the release said. Griffis was in critical condition. Authorities said Allen then returned to his nearby home and killed himself.
Authorities said Allen was a longtime employee of the trucking company. On Sunday, flags flew at half-staff at the company's headquarters. The trucking company's website said it employs 400 people and owns hundreds of vehicles that operate around the country. It said Pritchett started the trucking company in 1980.
Allen was step-grandfather to Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, who scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run in Saturday's preseason loss to the Washington Redskins in Landover, MD. Bills director of media relations Chris Jenkins said Spiller was aware of the grim news, adding inside the locker room that Spiller would not discuss questions about the incident with the media.
"As far as I know, he knew something was happening personally, but we didn't have any information prior to the game,'' Marrone said. "No one knows all of the facts. So we are not going to comment at this time.''
Investigators were working at the five shooting scenes and interviewing witnesses and company employees. The sheriff's statement Saturday said they were working to determine a motive. The sheriff's office also called in investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to help with the various shooting scenes. As of late Sunday morning, investigators said they had no updates to share, and no news conferences were scheduled.
With many Lake Butler residents in church Sunday morning, the town was quiet. At First Baptist, a sign read, "Praying for Union County & all families affected by this tragedy!"
Additional reporting courtesy USA Today.