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Police Kill Man Who Shot 5 at Law Firm

  Criminal Law  -   POSTED: 2007/10/06 18:10

Anger over a divorce settlement may have driven a 63-year-old Baptist deacon to shoot five people in a law office, killing two, then exchange gunfire with police during a standoff, authorities said Friday.

A special tactical unit used explosives to enter the building shortly after midnight and shot John Ashley to death after he opened fire, police spokesman Sgt. Clifford Gatlin said. Autopsies were planned on the three victims, he said.

Police said Ashley repeatedly shot at them during the 10-hour standoff Thursday, and even shot at a remote-controlled police robot they sent inside. No officers were hurt.

"This is, it's a shock," Gatlin said. "It's big for us, because we know everybody."

Ashley, a retired city maintenance worker, was found in the back of the office, which was converted from a single-story house.

The two people police say he killed were found in the front of the building, where police rescued one of the three surviving victims Thursday afternoon. The other survivors escaped on their own.

Gatlin said investigators have learned the shooting was "a possible dispute over a divorce settlement," but that he had no further details.

He said investigators will need to speak with the three survivors to determine a motive, and at least two of them were seriously injured.

The shooting rampage near the Rapides Parish Courthouse astounded people who knew Ashley in Alexandria, a central Louisiana town of about 46,000.


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