By Michelle Leigh Smith
For the fort bend star
A fatal workplace shooting left two dead after a woman employee at Ben E. Keith opened fire on her co-workers in the massive food warehouse around 2:30 a.m. Monday.
According to the Missouri City police, she killed her manager and shot another colleague in the leg. Both the alleged shooter and her co-worker were taken to Southwest Memorial Hermann Hospital, where the woman died as a result of her injury.
The suspect, identified by police as employee Kristine Peralez, 29, shot two other employees at the facility. Peralez was apprehended and transported to Memorial Hermann to be treated for a gunshot wound to her chest.
The two victims were Manager Francisco Reyes and Fredencio Janas. Reyes, 31, died on the scene and Janas is being treated at Southwest Memorial Hospital for a gunshot wound to his leg.
Police Chief Mike Berezin said there were 20-25 employees in the warehouse at 1 Ben E. Keith Way near the 700 block of Cravens Road at the time of the shoot-out. He and his investigative team had not yet said what may have prompted the deadly shooting. Immediately after the shooting, it was unclear if Peralez died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or due to police gunfire in the parking lot.
“When the call came in to the city’s dispatch center, our officers quickly responded with assistance from area law enforcement agencies who helped secure the scene,” Berezin said.
Police arrived in the parking lot outside the warehouse and discovered the shooter, who was not immediately identified, in the parking lot, where a brief shootout ensued.
“Subsequently, a SWAT team conducted an extensive search of the large building and no additional suspects or victims were discovered,” Berezin said.
“This is the first active shooter situation Missouri City has encountered and we want to assure the public that the shooting did not affect any area outside of the Ben E. Keith facility,” Berezin said. “The scene is completely contained.”
The Ben E. Keith Food Distribution Center in Missouri City employs 431 workers, according to the Missouri City Police Records Supervisor Paula Bowman.
Missouri City Police SWAT worked through the morning to clear the large building before workers could enter. Earlier morning reports said the facility would remain closed for the day.
“MCPD has had zero work place homicides this year,” Bowman said.
According to stats from 2011, an average of 33,000 workers are assaulted on the job and 14 are murdered each week in the United States. Worker-on-worker (or boss) violence accounts for only about 8 percent of workplace homicides. More than half of all workplace homicides occur in retail or service settings such as conveniences stores, taxicab services, and gas stations with the majority of these homicides occurring during a robbery. That number went up in 2015, to 417 nationally.
Ben E. Keith Food Distribution Center, a Texas-based company, is the eighth largest food service distributor c and fourth largest beverage distributor in the U.S. They opened the Missouri City location in 2013.
The food division is a broadline distributor serving 14 states, with the beverage division serving 254 Texas counties.