POSTED: 3:00 a.m. HST, Jun 14, 2013
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A businessman opened fire on his employees at a downtown St. Louis office, killing a man and two women before turning the gun on himself, police said.
Neighbors called police Thursday afternoon after hearing semi-automatic gunfire at AK Home Health Care LLC, a nursing services provider south of downtown St. Louis.
A motive for the killings was not immediately known.
"We don't know if this was a thing that carried over into today or was initiated today," St. Louis Police Capt. Michael Sack said.
Late Thursday, St. Louis police identified the shooter as Ahmed Dirir, 59, and his victims as: 44-year-old Khadra Muse of Olivette; 29-year-old Seaeed Abdulla of St. Louis; and 54-year-old Bernice Solomon-Redd of East St. Louis, Ill.
The gunman was the owner or co-owner of the small business and that his three victims were employees, Sack said Thursday.
Police said surveillance video showed what appeared to be a verbal dispute, followed a short time later by gunshots that penetrated an inside wall. No one else was in the office, the St. Louis Police Department said in a posting on Twitter.
St. Louis has long struggled with urban violence, but the last week has seen a troublesome uptick in bloodshed. Police scrambled late Monday and early Tuesday to respond to five different shootings on the city's north side that left 15 people wounded.
Abdi Salam Elmi, an immigrant from Somalia who drives a cab in St. Louis, said he was close to all four of the dead in Thursday's shooting. He described them as hardworking, friendly people.
"They always smile for me. This is my worst day in my life. It's a very, very sad day for us and a very sad day for the city of St. Louis."
Elmi said as a cab driver he sees too much violence in the city and he's concerned about the recent shootings. "I feel the same as I did when I left Somalia," he said, referring to the war-torn African country.
Associated Press reporter Jim Suhr contributed to this story.