Ninety minutes after reporting to work, Jean Larson heard what turned out to be deadly gunfire inside her office building — then “all hell broke loose.”
Police say Anthony LaCalamita III, an accounting firm employee fired from his job last week, returned Monday to the building where he previously worked and shot three people, killing one. Two of the victims were apparently targeted, police said.
“We heard pop, pop, pop,” smelled gunpowder and heard co-workers yelling, said Larson, 48, a staff accountant for G&C, a subsidiary of Gordon Advisors.
“I heard one employee screaming, ‘He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!’ ... It was a panic. No one knew what to do. No one knew where to go.”
The gunman then left the office complex and headed north, where he was spotted hours later by a motorist 50 miles north of Detroit. He was taken into custody after leading officers on a 30-mile highway chase that reached speeds up to 120 mph.
LaCalamita, 38, said nothing after officers surrounded him, Genesee County Sheriff Robert J. Pickell said. Officers subdued him and found a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and three live shells in the vehicle, the sheriff said.
LaCalamita was being held on charges of fleeing and eluding police. Police investigators were expected to meet Tuesday with Oakland County prosecutors to authorize charges in the shootings, and LaCalamita was to be arraigned Wednesday, Troy Police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck said.
Troy Police Chief Charles Craft said LaCalamita was fired last week but still was listed on the Web site of Gordon Advisors, a 40-to 50-employee company where workers had been busy preparing tax returns.
Police said the person killed was a 63-year-old woman but would not name her.
Calls to Gordon Advisors were not answered Monday afternoon. A message posted on the company’s Web site said the office would be closed Tuesday in memory of Madeline Kafoury.
Larson said Kafoury was well-known and well-liked. She said Kafoury retired last year after tax season ended, but returned part-time this year after her successor quit.
Scherlinck identified the other victims as a 47-year-old man and a 48-year-old man.
He said the men were in management positions, and the gunman may have also been seeking another man who wasn’t at the office at the time.
“It appears that he was especially targeting those two males,” Scherlinck said.
The families of the wounded men requested privacy, and Beaumont Hospital would not release any details about their conditions, hospital spokeswoman Ilene Wolff said.
“I’m not positive all three of the people were targeted but there appeared to be some purpose,” said Craft, the police chief.
Witnesses told police that when the gunman walked into the office on the building’s second floor around 10 a.m. Monday, he looked as if he was trying to hide something, Craft said.
Police couldn’t say how many shots were fired.
After briefly assembling in the employee lunchroom, some employees opted to hole up inside individual offices. Larson joined two female co-workers, barricading the locked door with chairs, turning off the lights and silencing their cell phones.
Beneath a desk, the three curled up and kept quiet.
“I was just so scared,” Larson said. “I just kept thinking, ‘This can’t be happening.”’