DETROIT (WWJ) – Police say a Detroit auto worker killed himself on Belle Isle after he fled the scene of a fatal knife attack at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant.
While a police investigation is still ongoing, one worker at the plant told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Chrystal Knight he knew both the suspect and the victim and it all started with a feud that began a few days ago over the suspect’s wife.
“The one gentleman who allegedly did the stabbing — his wife works here at the plant. So, allegedly … they got into an argument about the gentleman’s wife,” he said. “The gentleman, he got really upset about it, and today he was in a real weird mood.”
The employee, who did not want to give his name, described the suspect’s behavior following the attack. “He was walking away from the scene and he was full of blood and the co-workers … the ones who didn’t see it happen, they said, are you okay? What’s wrong? And he said just back off.”
He described the suspect as a quiet man in his 40s who was an excellent worker.
He said the victim was their union steward a few years ago and was a good friend to many at the plant.
Another worker said there has been “speculation going on” about what the suspect’s wife might have had to do with the altercation. “She was there. She was approximately in the middle of the plant and he was on one end of the plant,” he said. “And when she was told (what happened) I guess she pretty much, I don’t know if you want to call it passed out, fainted, but she crumbled to the ground.”
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, police were asked about reports of a love triangle as a possible motive.
“We don’t know for sure what the motive was, but as some point in time we will be able to determine that,” said Detroit Police Inspector Dwane Blackmon.
J.D. , a 20-year Chrysler worker, knew the victim. “I’m devastated. I’m devastated. It’s senseless, it shouldn’t happen,” he said. “I mean I know that people have a lot of issues, everyday issues, but I’m just devastated.”
Chrysler employee Jonathon Robertson was also in the building when it happened.
“Two coworkers — they’re both in their for almost 20 years, you know. I don’t know what to say. It’s just a sad, sad day,” Robertson said.
As of Thursday afternoon, police were not releasing any details about a possible motive or any names in the case.
Workers were on lockdown at the plant for a time after the stabbing. The plant was expected to reopen ahead of first shift on Friday.
Chrysler Senior Vice President Scott Garberding said grief counselors would be made available to all employees.