News Midday Update: Five killed in Kentucky plant shooting; man leaves jail naked, arrested again; longtime worker at Atlanta’s Varsity drive-in dies

An employee shot and killed a supervisor and four others after an argument at a western Kentucky plastics plant in a rampage that ended in the gunman’s suicide, police and a company official said today.

The shooting happened around midnight at Atlantis Plastics in Henderson, Ky.

The employee, a press operator, began arguing with a supervisor and was escorted from the building, company CEO Bud Philbrook told The Associated Press.

As the employee was leaving, he took out a gun, shot the supervisor, then charged back into a break room and shot several employees. Then he returned to the floor and shot another employee before killing himself, Philbrook said.

‘‘It’s just total shock. It’s something you read about in the paper what happened at one of our facilities,’’ Philbrook said.

It wasn’t clear if the employee was carrying the gun, or if he retrieved it after the argument. ‘‘We don’t know if the gun was in the car or if he went somewhere to get it,’’ Henderson police Lt. David Piller said.

At least one other person was injured, police said. The wounded victim was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center in Evansville, Ind., spokeswoman Cheryl Dauble said. That person was undergoing treatment, she said, but declined to release further information.

– Associated Press

Longtime worker at Atlanta’s Varsity drive-in dies

Erby Walker dedicated more than five decades to serving up chili dogs and frosted orange drinks at Atlanta’s famous Varsity drive-in.

The animated counterman who became a local celebrity with his ‘‘What’ll ya have?’’ died Monday of cardiac arrest at Grady Memorial Hospital. He was 70.

He had been hospitalized after falling down a flight of stairs at his home last week, said his daughter, Anissa Thompson. Walker had a heart attack in 1990, after which his doctor told him to stop eating Varsity hot dogs.

‘‘I said ’What are you trying to do, kill me now?’’’ Walker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time.

Walker started sweeping floors at the Varsity in 1952 at age 15. He was the first black man to work the counter when the drive-in desegregated in 1964.

Over the years, he served food to celebrities including Muhammad Ali, Burt Reynolds and former President Bill Clinton. In 2003, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau inducted him into the Hospitality Hall of Fame.

Walker tried to retire in 2003 but asked for his job back after just a few months. He worked as recently as last week, the day he fell at his home and broke several bones.

– Associated Press

Man leaves jail naked, arrested again

A man freed from the Chatham County jail faces new charges after he walked out of the jail naked.

Savannah-Chatham County police say they arrested 49-year-old Bill Merit less than a mile from the jail after getting calls that a nude man was walking by a busy roadside during the daytime.

A police report says Merritt told an officer that he didn’t take the clothes jailers gave him because he thought they were stolen.

The report says the man ‘‘appeared rational, except for being naked.’’

Jail records show Merrit had been booked two days eariler on charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

He was returned to jail on a charge of public indecency.

– Associated Press


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