Demoted worker shoots CEO before killing self - KMSP-TV

Demoted worker shoots CEO before killing self

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Steven LaVoie | @ArrowSteve Steven LaVoie | @ArrowSteve
Anthony DeFrances | LinkedIn Anthony DeFrances | LinkedIn
FOX 32 Photo | Joanie Lum FOX 32 Photo | Joanie Lum
(@PatMcH87/Twitter) (@PatMcH87/Twitter)
DeFrances' home DeFrances' home
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A recently demoted executive entered a Loop office building in Chicago on Thursday morning and shot the company’s CEO before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide, authorities said.

The shooting happened just before 10 a.m. at the ArrowStream company on the 17th floor of the Bank of America building, 231 S. LaSalle St. The firm sells supply-chain management technology to large restaurants like Wendy’s and Applebee’s.

“Apparently he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.

The company’s CEO, Steven LaVoie, 54, of LaGrange, was in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after being shot in the head and stomach, authorities said.

Friends and fellow church members gathered all afternoon and into the evening at First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange to pray for LaVoi and his family.

“I was just absolutely shattered. Just couldn't believe it. Who thinks about going to work on a normal business day and having something like this happen,” said family friend Rudy Shade.

The alleged shooter was identified as Anthony DeFrances of Tower Lakes, a 60-year-old employee who had been told on Friday that he was being demoted as the company downsizes, police said. DeFrances had worked at the company since January 2001, according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to ArrowStream's website, DeFrances was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the company.

“You know, it's just hard to believe that somebody from this neighborhood I guess would be involved in something like that. You never think about that kind of thing," DeFrances’ neighbor Bob Husemoller said.

When the shooter produced the gun, the two men struggled over it before the CEO was shot, McCarthy said.

The gun DeFrances used was a semi-automatic pistol, said Tom Ahern, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He noted that tracking the history of the weapon is an agency priority to find out “how it ended up in the hands of the shooter.”

McCarthy said 10 witnesses are being interviewed by police.

“I can’t see how this could have been a security issue,” McCarthy said. “This is basically a personal thing and unfortunately it’s turning out this way.”

The block of LaSalle that ArrowStream is on was closed to traffic as police officers flooded the scene.

Jay McKeon, who works at the Federal Reserve Bank in the Loop, says he saw a man being wheeled out of the building on a stretcher.

Ambaj Sharma, who works in the Chicago Board of Trade building, said his brother works on the 14th floor of 231 South LaSalle and wasn’t being allowed to leave the building.

Neighbors who did not want to go on camera said DeFrances was the last person they would expect to do something like that, and that they didn't even know he had a gun.

Illinois State Police, though, said DeFrances did not have a firearm owners identification card, meaning the semi-automatic handgun may have been obtained illegally. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has put a rush trace on the weapon.

LaVoi's family Thursday night issued a statement saying in part:

"A horrific personal tragedy has happened today to two families. Thank you to our family and friends for your outpouring of love and support. Our prayers are with the other family affected by this tragedy."

ArrowStream released the following official statement:

"We are deeply saddened and shocked by the events that have occurred today. Our focus during this tragedy is to ensure the well being of our ArrowStream family.

We want to assure our customers that our business continuity plan is in place, and our operations will continue to function normally.

We appreciate the concern and care expressed by so many."

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