Murder-Suicide Of Chrysler Workers Followed Fight On Plant Floor, Police Say

Chrysler Jeep plant stabbing dead

Story updated on Sept. 21 at 10:15 am.

Two Chrysler workers are dead after a fight at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit on Thursday morning, police said.

The incident began at around 7:55 a.m. Thursday when a male employee allegedly slit the throat of a coworker on the plant floor. Jeff Hunt was identified as the attacker, and Keith Readus as the victim, according to local press reports. Readus died on the spot. After the altercation, Hunt apparently immediately fled the Chrysler plant, according to local station WWJ-TV. The Jefferson North plant was immediately placed on lockdown, reported the Detroit News. (Grief counselors were invited onto the site to meet with the staff, as pictured above.) Shortly after, Hunt was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a red Jeep Wrangler in nearby Belle Isle Park, which is on an island in the Detroit River.

In speaking to AOL Jobs, Cassandra Lewis, an officer with the Detroit police department's 9th Precinct on the city's east side, confirmed the two men "had a history of tension." She wouldn't comment further, including whether police had filed previous reports on incidents relating to the two men.

But the Detroit News was reporting Friday that the murder-suicide was apparently a crime of passion. Hunt's wife is also an employee at the plant, and turned to Readus for advice about her marriage during a frustrating time, according to an account by Readus's older sister Jackie Davis-Alexander. Finding out about the consultation, Hunt apparently went after Readus in a fit of jealousy.

"I don't know if (Hunt) misconstrued what was going on," Davis-Alexander said. Her brother, she said, "just tried to help everybody else."

The slaying at the Chrysler plant is said to have occurred during yesterday morning team's first break. The altercation reportedly began after Hunt allegedly accosted Readus and whispered something in his ear. Hunt then reportedly stabbed his co-worker and climbed onto a nearby forklift, according to witnesses. Readus had been an employee of the plant since 1994.

More: 10 Warning Signs of Workplace Violence



Work resumed at the plant on Friday after the day was suspended by the automaker on Thursday. The plant doesn't have any metal detectors.

The tragedy occurred at one of the automaker's growing plants. Built in 1991, the Jefferson North Plant produces Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos, according to The Wall Street Journal. Its current staff of 3,075 workers is preparing to add a new crew of 1,100 in the first quarter of 2013.

As was reported by DailyFinance two years ago, Chrysler suspended 15 workers at the same plant after catching them allegedly smoking marijuana and drinking beers on the job.

While Thursday's deaths seem to have stemmed from issues relating to the workers' private lives, workplace violence continues to make prominent news. Just last month, fashion accessories designer Jeffrey Johnson shot and killed former co-worker Steve Ercolino outside the store where they'd worked, Hazan Imports, just across the street from New York's Empire State Building.

And as AOL Jobs also reported last month, threats of workplace violence are up 28 percent this year. That's according to Dr. Larry Barton, the president of the Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based American College and a consultant on workplace violence.

"Many of us who thought the [economic downturn] was going to be a short-term hiccup, and so that gave us temporary comfort," said Barton, who also teaches at the FBI Academy on subjects such as identifying potentially violent individuals. "But it has become an ulcer, and with a lot more anxiety about cutbacks, people wondering, 'Am I next?,' you would think people would lie low and do their work. But that's not the case, it seems people become more provocative."




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163 Comments

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butch

I guess making FIAT'S finally got to them.

September 27 2012 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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January 23 2013 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Johnny

So tell me. Would this be considered an "honor" killing ?

September 22 2012 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Johnny's comment
Newquest

If they lived in the Middle East, maybe. Sound like an unstable man with anger issues to me. Was Readus a counselor or did she just pick a guy that would make her husband jealous to tell her personal problems to? It all turned out very bad all around. No one was "honored" here.

September 27 2012 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Newquest

If they lived in the Middle East, maybe. Sounds like an unstable man with anger issues to me. Was Readus a counselor or did she just pick a guy that would make her husband jealous to tell her personal problems to? It all turned out very bad all around. No one was "honored" here.

September 27 2012 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sleek

Most all workplace violence takes place in blue collar work environments.

September 22 2012 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sleek

Workplace violence seems to always be in a blue collar work location?

September 22 2012 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
judithgrayson

sad and terrible. there will be more of this. our american life is gone and no one seems to know where we are in the universe. grief counselors should be at the supermarkets and the gas stations, on every street corner in urban america and in every mall in the suburbs. why wait for the inevitable result of feeling like ones head is going to expode.

September 22 2012 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cslinz62

Ain't no woman worth fighting over but ain't no man worth fighting over either.

September 22 2012 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bjamebon3

thats one of the problems with mfg they mix the sexes together ,and people are concentranting on love instead of work to detrimate of company .Keep the men, and women separate so this dosen t happen

September 22 2012 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
weirdo

There's more to this story than is being said....Woman having marital problems goes to (I'm guessing single) male co-worker for "advice"......If I were having marital problems, and decided to get "advice" from a female co-worker, who just also happens to be a co-worker of the wife, I could only imagine the hell that would break loose.

September 22 2012 at 5:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
almazstmp

When you get involved with other man's wife, this is what you get.

September 22 2012 at 4:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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