A man shot two co-workers to death at their office Thursday, then killed a third person at a company where he used to work, authorities said. The burst of workplace violence came just one week after the Atlanta office massacre.
Alan Eugene Miller, 34, was arrested shortly after the shootings when police saw him on nearby Interstate 65 and forced him to pull over. He briefly scuffled with officers, and a gun was found in his car.
Miller was charged with three counts of capital murder. The motive was unclear.
Pelham, a suburb of about 10,000 people in the wooded hills south of Birmingham, is a mix of upscale subdivisions, commercial districts and rural farmland.
Police Chief Allan Wade said Miller worked at Ferguson Enterprises, a heating and air conditioning company where the first two victims were shot to death. They were identified as Lee Holdbrooks, 32, and Christopher Yancy, 28.
Police arrived at Ferguson at 7:04 a.m. Officers were still securing the crime scene 13 minutes later when dispatchers got a second emergency call _ this time about a shooting at Post Airgas, a company that sells helium, oxygen and other gases several miles from Ferguson Enterprises.
The third victim, Terry Jarvis, 39, was found at Post Airgas.
Wade said the gunman at Post Airgas matched the description of the man who fled Ferguson Enterprises and whose car was seen entering I-65.
"Everybody around here is just regular working people," said Cathy McKay, owner of a carpet store across the street from Post Airgas. "You feel safe coming out here at night."
Miller is from Billingsley, a rural town 50 miles south of Pelham, Wade said.
At his Billingsley home, Miller's mother, Barbara Miller, said he "went off to work just as he always does this morning."
"He left here like he always does, with a 7-Up and a couple of things of biscuits and sausage. Alan didn't bother anybody."
The shootings came one week after frustrated investor Mark O. Barton killed nine people and wounded 13 others at two brokerage firms in Atlanta in one of the worst office massacres in United States history.
Fred Herder, a day trader who had worked with Barton and was wounded in his rampage, was released from the hospital Wednesday and found the Pelham shootings a troubling repeat of the Atlanta carnage.
"It's really frightening that all of a sudden that someone is copying this," he said.