ALBERTVILLE, Ala. – It has been almost two weeks since a deadly mass shooting at the Mueller manufacturing plant in Albertville.
Two were killed, Two others are still hospitalized, and the gunman died by suicide a few hours later.
There are still a lot of questions surrounding the tragedy, but News 19 is now getting some answers on what it was like inside at the time of the shooting.
As you can imagine, being at the scene of a fatal shooting was traumatic for the employee News 19’s Northeast Alabama Bureau Chief Tiffany Lester sat down exclusively with Monday, Michael Anderson.
He says he has done iron transfers on the third shift there for three years and has worked with some of the victims and the gunman, Andreas Horton.
Anderson tells News 19 there are about 50 or 60 employees on the foundry side during the third shift.
He says it started as an ordinary work night, but halfway through his shift, everything changed.
Iron transfers are in a different area from the paint line where the shooting happened, so Anderson did not see it, but he went to check it out after hearing multiple calls over the intercom for the emergency team.
“As soon as I had walked into what we call the dyscontrol room/break room, I had took my helmet off and that’s when I heard the page go out. It was like seven times, I think with, you know, we need the emergency response team to the foundry paint line,” explained Anderson.
He has first aid and CPR training through his military and corrections officer background, so he went to help.
“As soon as I rounded the corner to where the paint line, the bay door would be, I seen one of the victims laying on the floor and actually my immediate thought was, ‘ Wow! You know, a pipe fell on his head.’ I knew it was fatal. You could tell.”
Anderson says another coworker told him there had been a shooting, which caused him to be panicked and concerned.
“You don’t know, you know, if they’re still there or how many there are, so all I wanted to do was warn the other guys to get to safety,” Anderson added.
Anderson tells News 19 that he has seen a lot of bad stuff in his life, but this was by far the worst.
“It’s definitely a shock. You don’t ever think you’re going to go anywhere and see somebody die, especially at work.”
It has left him and other Mueller employees haunted.
“It was weird going back that first night but as with time, everything gets easier but I do think sometimes, knowing David is going to come help me, he’s helping me tonight, but he’s not. I think that’s hard for everybody,” said Anderson.
He says he feels like as big of a panic as it was, it could have been much worse.
“The situation was handled the best it could be and getting that initial page and that call over the intercom was crucial and the guy who done it, he could have took off, but he didn’t. He did a good job and he probably saved people’s lives. Who knows,” added Anderson
There are questions as to how the shooter could have gotten the gun inside to begin with.
Anderson says there was limited security at the time of the shooting.
“It’s just you go through the gate with the guard, lets you in, park, then walk through another guard shack. They never checked nobody’s bag at the gate ever,” said Anderson.
Lester asked Anderson if he thinks there should be increased security protocol such as bag checks or metal detectors added to Mueller entrances.
He responded, “Actually no. Everybody has guns, this is the South. I have guns, and there’s nothing you can do. You can get shot at Target. You would have to run Mueller like a prison, where I worked six years. You’d have to scan your bag and walk through a metal detector when you came in and out and at a place like Mueller, it’s not feasible. If they did it, it wouldn’t bother me. I just don’t think it’ll solve anything. It may deter something from happening, but there’s nothing 100%.”
He says there is currently an officer patroling daily.
Anderson also says the CEO has told the workers that there is more increased security protocol to come, but that it takes time to put it all into place.
News 19 also reached out to Muelller to find out what that may entail. The following was the response from a company spokesperson:
“The Mueller family continues to mourn those who were tragically killed and severely injured last week in Albertville, and we are holding them and their loved ones in our hearts.
Operations resumed at the Albertville facility on Monday, June 21, 2021, with on-site EAP counselors available for team members. Mueller has no higher priority than the safety and well-being of our employees. We have implemented robust security practices, policies and training across our facilities, including in Albertville. We are always assessing our security processes, however, and we will be carefully reviewing the results of the investigation into last week’s incident.
We appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support for the victims, their families and our community in Albertville. Donations to the Albertville Survivors’ Fund, in partnership with the National Compassion Fund, can be made by visiting: https://www.gofundme.com/f/albertville-survivors-fund.”Yolanda Kokayi, Company Spokesperson