CLEVELAND – A woman was shot to death Friday outside the manufacturing plant where she worked by a man whom she had complained about to police, and the gunman also killed her co-worker, authorities said.
Police say Pedro Rodriguez shot Graciela Morales, 49, in her sport-utility vehicle parked outside the factory, then used her employee identification card to gain access to the building. Once inside, Rodriguez sought out 49-year-old Eduardo Pupo and shot him, police said. Rodriguez fled the scene in a car and was hit by a stun gun while police apprehended him later that afternoon.
Morales' niece, Cassandra Morales, says her aunt broke off a relationship with Rodriguez two years ago and he had attacked her once before, sending her to the hospital. Police say Graciela Morales had filed a menacing by stalking report against Rodriguez in July but later decided not to press charges. Police did not say whether Morales and Rodriguez had a relationship.
"We just don't know how he got so close to her and she didn't notice," Cassandra Morales said of the shooting.
Cassandra Morales said her aunt had worked at the plant for four years and had three children.
Gunshots rang out inside the plant at about 1:30 p.m., and a supervisor began yelling for everyone to get out of the building. Machine operator Alberto Gonzalez was searching for an exit along with his colleagues when he saw the gunman reloading his weapon.
"I heard the shotgun," Gonzalez said. "He was loading the gun inside the building like he was ready to shoot somebody else."
Graciela Morales' relatives watched, sobbing, as police loaded an SUV with a plastic tarp over the driver's side door onto a flatbed. A garbage bag covered the driver's seat.
A teenage girl collapsed on the ground crying.
ParkOhio Products Inc. manufactures rubber, silicone and plastic components for various industries, according to its website. The company said in a statement that it was "shocked and saddened" by the shooting and had suspended operations at the facility, a beige warehouse near a scrap yard on a road filled with auto service centers a few miles southwest of downtown Cleveland.
Graciela Morales told police that Rodriguez had driven by her home and workplace numerous times and would stare at her, then drive away. Rodriguez told a detective that he had only called Morales because he was hoping to reconcile with her.
"He was advised that a police report was made and he informed the detective that he was sorry and would stop calling her and would accept that the relationship was over," Morris said in a statement.
Afterward, Morales told police that Rodriguez did not threaten her and there was no "pattern of conduct."
"This was a lovely people that died today," said Gonzalez, who knew both victims. "Everybody loved them."
Coroner's spokesman Powell Caesar says autopsies will likely be conducted Saturday.