Security firm sued in Toledo Jeep plant shooting

By Chad D. Baus

Last week, the Toledo Blade reported that an employee who was wounded during a shooting rampage two years ago at DaimlerChrysler AG's Toledo North Assembly plant has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the facility's security firm.

From the story:

    Michael Toney, a manager who was among four workers shot by Myles Meyers, claims that Wackenhut Corp. was negligent in allowing the disgruntled employee into the plant with a loaded 20-gauge shotgun.

    Tomorrow marks the second year since Meyers opened fire in the plant.

    Roy "Tom'' Thacker, 50, a supervisor, was killed and two others - Mr. Toney, 47, and Paul Medlen, 43 - were wounded before Meyers shot and killed himself.

    The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Toledo and assigned to Judge David Katz, seeks unspecified compensatory damages and legal fees from the Florida-based Wackenhut Corp.

As I wrote at the time of this incident, when companies prohibit employees who have Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs) from bringing their protection on company property, they explain by way of making a lot of promises.

Click on 'Read More' for the full commentary.

They say without the prohibition, there is a risk of misuse, poor judgment or accident by license-holders.

They say the prohibition will make a safer work environment.

They say the prohibition makes the company "weapons-free".

The Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio was none of those things Wednesday night, January 26, 2005.

Again, from the story:

    The day before the shooting, Meyers, 54, a repairman at the plant for 21 years, met with supervisors and union representatives regarding production defects that had passed through Meyers' repair area.

    He returned to the plant and entered a turnstile at a gate with the double-barreled shotgun hidden under his coat and secured to his body with wire and tape.

    After entering the body shop office and shooting Mr. Thacker in the chest, Meyers pointed the gun at Mr. Toney, who was shot in the right arm as he tried to run to the rear area of the body shop.

    Among the claims in Mr. Toney's lawsuit are that Wackenhut failed to implement reasonable security measures that could have prevented the workplace violence, including using video surveillance devices and metal detectors to screen for weapons.

    Mr. Toney said he suffered permanent and disabling injuries from the shooting and claims that the injuries have resulted in a loss of consortium with his wife and his two daughters.

    The complaint is the fourth lawsuit to be filed in federal court over the shooting.

    Mary Thacker, the widow of Roy Thacker; Mr. Medlen and his wife, and Charles Widanka, a Jeep employee, and his wife have filed lawsuits in federal court against DaimlerChrysler and Wackenhut.

This incident reinforced the fact that disarmament zones only disarm honest, law-abiding citizens; not the criminals who prey upon them.

Banning the human right to self-defense for customers or employees has proven time and again to be a complete failure. It is time for this nation's businesses to recognize there is nothing to fear from law-abiding citizens who choose to defend themselves.

Related Stories:
ADVISORY: No Firearms Allowed? Businesses Incur Extraordinary Liability

Workplace gun prohibitions = promises not kept

Op-ed: The False Hope of Gun-Free Zones

Disgruntled employee didn't need CHL to threaten former boss

Why should employees be able to CCW? Question answered...tragically.

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