Gunfire that killed a 58-year-old man and injured a co-worker Thursday at a Baldwin truck stop was triggered by an attempt by the suspect’s company to repossess his truck after he was fired, the widow told Times-Union news partner First Coast News.
Officers wounded the gunman minutes later in a shootout captured on cellphone video on Interstate 10. Killed in the parking lot was Todd Dlayne Phillips, a safety inspector of the same trucking company as the suspect, his wife said.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday that it was a case of workplace violence and that 56-year-old Leroy Wesley Edwards Jr. was charged with second-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder. The Sheriff’s Office said Edwards, who remains in the hospital after being critically injured, had a two-shot derringer handgun.
The repossession effort on the truck was due to the suspect having recently been fired by Rinaudo Enterprises on Pickett Drive, the widow said. Contacted by phone and email, the company would not respond to requests for comment.
Officers were called about 7 a.m. to the Pilot Travel Center at 1050 U.S. S. 301 off the interstate on reports of a shooting, Chief T.K. Waters said Thursday. They found one man dead and another wounded in a parking lot where trucks park overnight.
A witness pointed officers to I-10, saying a truck had just left the lot, Waters said. Officers found it parked on the side of I-10 east and began walking toward it when someone there shot at them, and they returned fire.
At least 25 shots are heard on a cellphone video posted on Reddit as two officers and a sergeant traded gunfire with the suspect, who was ultimately wounded, Waters said. Two patrol cars also were struck.
Phillips’ wife said he and co-worker Joe Parcell were retrieving the suspect’s company truck when the shooting occurred. Parcell was listed in stable condition, his niece told First Coast News.
Sgt. J. Dowling and Officers S.C. Hackney and R.C. Winfrey fired the shots, Waters said. No other injuries were reported.