BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Fired a day earlier from UPS, a man put on his work uniform, drove to an Alabama package sorting center and evaded security by entering through a truck dock in the rear, police and the company say.
Two former UPS co-workers were shot dead within minutes Sept. 23d, and the shooter, identified by police as Kerry Joe Tesney, lay dead atop his gun from what police said was a self-inflicted wound.
The shooter entered after about 80 drivers had left for the day to deliver packages from the Birmingham center, UPS said, possibly avoiding even more bloodshed.
“It was a relatively small crew that was remaining,” said Steve Gaut, a spokesman for the shipping company. Authorities haven’t released the slain people’s names but said they were members of management.
Pastor Bill Wilks of NorthPark Baptist Church described the 45-year-old Tesney of the Birmingham suburb of Trussville, as having been troubled over his work and financial situation but said the shooting was unbelievable.
“I think it’s been an ongoing situation,” Wilks said. “In his own spirit he’s been troubled, and he’s asked for prayer about that.”
Tesney and his wife have two children. The family has been active members of the church since 2003, Wilks said. “He’s just a guy who went through his trials at work. Certainly we have prayed for him,” Wilks said.
The church held a prayer service night for the Tesney family and the slain workers.
The UPS warehouse, a light brown building sitting on a hill with company logos on the front and side, is used to sort packages and send them out on trucks. The building has a parking lot surrounded by barbed wire.
The man was wearing a UPS uniform and opened fire either in or near some offices inside the warehouse in an industrial area just north of the Birmingham airport, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper told reporters. Police said one body was found outside one of the offices and the other two were inside an office.
The gunman had shot himself by the time officers got inside the warehouse, Roper said.
Gaut would not say what Tesney’s job duties had been before his firing was finalized. Police said Tesney had gotten that final notice in the mail.
Aside from the job with the shipping giant, Tesney and his wife, Melissa, are listed as distributors for Advocare, a multi-level marketing company that sells health and fitness products.
They have a website advertising the business that says: “Just tell us your needs, your dreams your desires … and we’ll make it happen!”
Jefferson County court records showed a Birmingham business sued Tesney and UPS in 2010 claiming he had wrongly picked up a $4,000 radiator for shipment either intentionally or by mistake.
The lawsuit went on for years before a judge ruled in favor of Tesney and the shipping company a year ago on Sept. 23, 2013. However, it was not immediately clear whether that lawsuit may have played a role in the firing.