Spate of Workplace Shootings Leads to Call for Action

A woman is escorted from the scene of a shooting at a software company in Middleton, Wis., Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

(CN) – Over 24 hours, three workplace mass shootings have occurred prompting former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – who was shot in the head during an attempted assassination in 2011 – to urge action by lawmakers.

“Today it was a drugstore distribution center in Maryland. Yesterday, a software firm in Wisconsin and a municipal building in Pennsylvania,” Giffords said in a statement Thursday. “No matter where you work, learn, play or live – you have a right to feel safe and I’m horrified that that’s no longer the reality in America.”

On Thursday afternoon, a temporary employee at the Rite Aid Distribution Center in Aberdeen, Maryland opened fire in the facility, killing three people and wounding others. The suspected shooter, a woman, died of two self-inflicted gunshot wounds, according to a statement by Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler.

“If gun violence feels like it’s become an everyday occurrence, that’s because it is,” Giffords said Thursday.

Just a day before the mass shooting in Maryland, three people were wounded after an employee of WTS Paradigm, a software firm in Middleton, Wisconsin, opened fire on co-workers there Wednesday.

Local police said the man did not have a known criminal record nor did he have a conceal-and-carry permit for the gun used in the attack.

Police are still investigating whether the gun was legally-owned.

At the Masontown Borough Municipal Center in Masontown, Pennsylvania, a gunman wounded four people – including a local police sergeant – when he entered the municipal building and started firing.

According to Richard Bower, the Fayette County district attorney, the gunman was under a restraining order in connection to a strangulation case that was scheduled to be heard that afternoon.

The suspect was charged with aggravated assault in relation to a domestic dispute which occurred weeks ago, the district attorney said Wednesday.

Police killed the shooters involved in both incidents.

Giffords, who has regularly advocated for gun safety since the attempt on her life, said Thursday the shootings were solvable problems but that leaders must be willing to “acknowledge the serious crisis this has become” and remain “determined to fight for solutions that will save lives.”

“That’s why I’m doing everything in my power to help elect a new congress with the courage to pass stronger gun laws and am urging every voter to stand with me,” Giffords said Thursday.

According to a report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this January, in 2016 alone, there were 500 workplace homicides, an increase from the recorded 417 workplace shootings in 2015.

According to the bureau, 2016 workplace shootings were at their highest rate since 2010.

In a statement on Twitter Thursday afternoon, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he would remain in close contact with Harford County officials as they continue to investigate the shooting in Aberdeen, Maryland.

“The First Lady and I are grieving for the loss of life in today’s shooting in Harford, County and praying that those who were injured fully recover,” he said.

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