The Valley Protein plant was open for business again Thursday, following a fatal workplace shooting there Tuesday morning. Three people were killed and two others injured. Workplace violence experts are now speaking out about this growing trend and ways to prevent it.
According to experts, this year has seen a record number of workplace shootings. Experts also say there's no set profile that these shooters fit in- a lot of them have never had a troubled past. But there are things employers and co-workers can watch out for.
With heavy hearts, Valley Protein employees returned back to work.
Valley Protein President, Bob Coyle says, "It's as smooth as can be. As smooth as I think we could've expected."
Just two days ago, tragedy rocked the plant. 42-year-old Lawrence Jones shot four of his co-workers and then killed himself.
Jones was a parolee who was hired through an employment agency. A background check showed his criminal history, but the company hired him in spite of his non-violent offenses.
"It's every business owner's fear. You got great employees, you want to protect them," says Fresno business owner, Randy Tosi.
Randy Tosi also uses employment agencies to hire workers at his recycling plant, Bruno's Iron & Metal. He says the agencies help him weed out people with a criminal past. But workplace violent expert Hector Alvarez says the criminal history in the Valley Protein shooting doesn't stand out.
Alvarez has been studying workplace violence for 25 years. He says in the last four months, there have been a dozen workplace shootings. He calls this case puzzling.
"This one just doesn't fit a pattern."
No one knows what triggered Jones to go on a shooting rampage. Alvarez says none of the typical signs were present. Still, employees should know what those are. Some of the biggest signs are a bizarre change in behavior, violent tendencies or an inability to take criticism.
There are also ways to try and prevent these tragedies. Alvarez says the most important tip is communication.
"Having an environment in the workplace where people can talk to each other, across all levels."
Coyle says, "We're willing to implement just about anything we can you know anything to make workers comfortable, make it safe for them."
Alvarez will be hosting a violence seminar at the plant sometime next week.
Shooting victim Arnulfo Connriquez is now in serious condition.