It is a desperate time for laid-off workers, especially in Greece, where 1 in 5, and almost 1 in 2 young people, are unemployed. A man who was laid off seven months ago from his factory job in northern Greece, stormed into the facility with a hunting gun on Thursday, shot and wounded his ex-boss and a former co-worker, and took two others there hostage, police say. He later released the captives, unharmed, and turned himself in.
Police identify him as Dimitris Manikas, a 52-year-old father of two who has been unemployed for seven months, ever since he was laid off from his job at waste-container factory. Early Thursday afternoon, says GRReporter, the gunman entered the facility, and headed toward the office of owner Athanasios Andrianopoulos, shouting the boss' name.
Andrianopoulos was shot in the stomach, and as a young Bulgarian worker raced to disarm the gunman, the young man was shot the thigh, in front of his mother who also works in the factory. The two injured men were quickly taken to the hospital, and are now in stable condition.
Police say that Manikas told the female employees to leave the room, before locking himself and two other workers in the factory's office. The former worker demanded his job back, as well as 31,000 euros (about $41,000) in compensation for his dismissal, says GRReporter. He reportedly brought his daily medication with him, and refused to free the men until the company's accounting head personally agreed to his demands.
Police soon surrounded the premises, along with psychiatrists who specialize in negotiating with kidnappers. Accounts of the incident say that over almost 12 hours of negotiations, Manikas occasionally requested to see his first wife, as well as the children from his first marriage. He reportedly asked for a glass of brandy at one point, and at another point said he was unwell and taking psychotropic drugs.
Police say that Manikas freed the hostages a little before 1 a.m., left his hunting gun, and surrendered himself to authorities.
"Apparently the man is ill," the mother of the injured Bulgarian worker told GRReporter, "and caused such a fuss for that reason."
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