December 3, 2012

Police probe drive-by shooting at IBEW building in Fairfield on Thursday

Windows damaged; building had 20 occupants at time of shooting

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD -- A local union is investigating ways to improve security at its downtown hall four days after the lobby windows were shot out.

click image to enlarge

Jeff Rose, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1253, on Monday is seen behind one of seven bullet holes that shattered windows and walls at the office on Main Street in Fairfield. Someone shot at the building last Thursday evening while the office was occupied. There were no injuries.

Staff photo by David Leaming

It was a stroke of luck none of the 20 people in the building at the time was hurt when the plate glass window at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1253, at 176 Main St., was shot at, apparently by someone in a passing car, said business manager Jeff Rose.

Police still have not established a motive and don't have any suspects in the shooting, which happened between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, said police Chief John Emery.

Police recovered shell casings and found seven bullet holes, but haven't found any witnesses.

No one was in the lobby at the time, but students attending apprenticeship classes were on the first and second floors. Rose said there are often people in the lobby at that time, but they were let into the classrooms early Thursday night.

"Those guys would have been in the lobby," he said. "It was just dumb luck."

One bullet also traveled into an interior office, but the woman who works there had left for the day.

Rose said the union is exploring additional security measures in the wake of the shooting.

"We'll take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the safety of the people who work and do business here," Rose said.

Rose said the union had no internal problems that could have led to the shooting.

"This isn't just about us," he said. "This is about anybody who lives in the area. It's certainly a scary thing for anybody living here in Fairfield to think it's not safe in a lit, occupied building."

Rose said the building's occupants didn't immediately identify the sound as gunfire and initially thought the noise might be a truck backfiring. Only when they found bullet holes in the plate glass windows did they realize the building had been shot at.

Rose said that the union sometimes supports projects that other people are opposed to, but nothing that should incite violence.

"We're representing a bunch of working people," he said. "This is a democracy. We each get to say what we think."

Emery said the building appears to have been specifically targeted, but police don't know why.

"We don't know if somebody was upset with them. I just can't speculate," he said

Emery said asked that anyone who knows anything about the shooting call police at 453-9321.

He said criminal charges could vary, depending on the intent.

"If nothing else, it would be at least reckless conduct with a firearm and criminal mischief. There are probably other charges as well," Emery said.

Rose said the damaged windows are expected to be replaced within the next few days.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287


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