Official: Shooting at City Building Was ‘Workplace Violence’

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
December 20, 2019US News
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Official: Shooting at City Building Was ‘Workplace Violence’
Winston-Salem Police officers in tactical gear patrol outside the Joycelyn V. Johnson Municipal Services Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Dec. 20, 2019. (Walt Unks/Winston-Salem Journal via AP)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—A deadly shooting at a city building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina was an act of “workplace violence” by one city employee who targeted another man he’d disliked for a long time, police said Friday.

Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson told news reporters the gunman at a city building was killed during a gunfight with police officers who responded to the scene. One officer was wounded. She said the gunman was 60-year-old Steven Dewayne Haizlip, who shot and killed another employee, Terry Lee Cobb Jr., whom he had targeted.

Another city employee and a police officer were also wounded but are expected to survive.

Police Capt. Steven Tollie said the slain employee and the gunman had a “longstanding dislike for each other,” but he couldn’t elaborate on the source of their disagreements. Tollie said the two men had been involved in a physical altercation Thursday that wasn’t reported at the time to their superiors. Another city employee who was wounded wasn’t targeted and was “collateral damage,” Tollie said. Tollie said the gunman brought multiple firearms to the shooting Friday.

City employees and a police officer with the Winston-Salem Police Department stand outside the Joycelyn V. Johnson Municipal Services Center
City employees and a police officer with the Winston-Salem Police Department stand outside the Joycelyn V. Johnson Municipal Services Center after reports of gunshots in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Dec. 20, 2019. (Andrew Dye/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP)

Sanitation worker Dwight Black, 66, was running five minutes late when he parked his car at the facility. He said he was about to swipe his card to enter the building when people ran past him.

“They’re shooting. Run!’ Black said of the people leaving the building. “Fight or flight. I just followed suit.”

“I didn’t know what was happening, so I just kind of got out of the way until I could ascertain what was going on,” he added.

Black ran back to his car and said other people did the same and drove off. He said he just stood back and watched until the police arrived.

Winston-Salem city workers wait outside the Joycelyn V. Johnson Municipal Services Center
Winston-Salem city workers wait outside the Joycelyn V. Johnson Municipal Services Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., after a shooting on Dec. 20, 2019.
(Walt Unks/Winston-Salem Journal via AP)

Black said he was “kind of numb” after the shooting. “Everybody was devastated,” he said. “Tough day.”

Numerous police cars were on the scene in the late morning. Workers in the reflective gear worn by city sanitation workers were seen standing in a parking lot talking to each other. The scene outside the building appeared calm.

By Tom Foreman Jr.

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