Election Section

Suicidal factory worker involved in love triangle

By Katrina Hull, The Associated Press
Saturday December 08, 2001

GOSHEN, Ind. — The suicidal factory worker who gunned down a co-worker and wounded six others was involved in a “love triangle” at work, co-workers and police said Friday. 

Robert Wissman, 36, was having a problem with a male employee over a female co-worker, Police Chief Terry Schollian said. Neither employee was among those wounded, but police refused to release other details. 

After telling his boss he had not slept in three days, Wissman was asked to leave the Nu-Wood Decorative Millwork factory Thursday. He came back twice, the second time with a gun. 

Wissman fired 16 rounds, wounding other employees and killing manager Greg Oswald before taking his own life, police said. 

Workers described a scene of horror, saying Wissman fired haphazardly and did not aim at co-workers standing just a few feet away. 

“It was just chaos — people screaming and running, shots being fired,” Rutledge said. 

Misty Rushing said she sought cover under a desk in a small office when the shooting began. 

“I just saw him standing there with a shotgun, and I hit the floor,” she told The Indianapolis Star. “You couldn’t hear anyone screaming. He was just firing. He was just loading and unloading, loading and unloading.” 

Nu-Wood production manager Ed Rutledge said Wissman was involved in a “love triangle” and had been “acting funny” in the week before the shootings. 

“I could see it in his eyes. There was something going on in his head,” said Rutledge, 41. 

Wissman was a registered gun dealer who ran a business from his home, though he mostly focused on gun repairs, said Chris Sadowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Columbus, Ohio. 

“He was a very low volume dealer. He sold very few weapons during the course of his business,” Sadowski said. Wissman filed for bankruptcy protection in 1998, according to court records. 

Oswald had three children and a stepson. His former wife, Missy Oswald, told The Goshen News that Oswald was a “great father.” 

“He was always there for his children,” she said. 

Lyn Brubaker, 31, who used to live above Wissman, said he was kind and talked frequently to her husband. She said he kept a large boa constrictor in his closet and lived with his mother. 

He was also interested in hunting, fishing and guns. 

“He didn’t seem obsessed about it,” Brubaker said. 

Elkhart County Sheriff’s Capt. Julie Dijkstra said Wissman had apparently just been fired or was about to be fired before he left the simulated-wood products factory. He was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound with a shotgun under his body. 

Of the wounded, a 27-year-old man was listed in critical condition Friday and a 52-year-old man was in serious condition. Two others remained hospitalized. 

Authorities were investigating reports that managers had warned employees to be on the lookout for Wissman. Sheriff’s deputies said they could not confirm whether managers may also have warned authorities. 

Michael Cardoza, who wore a patch over his left eye where he had been shot, said management and police should have reacted differently. 

“My feeling is if they got threatened, they should have shut down,” he said. 


On the Net: http://www.nu-wood.com