Demoted executive kills self after wounding firm's CEO

Victim in critical condition after being wounded in the head, stomach


July 31--An executive of a Loop company, upset that he was being demoted, walked into the CEO's office on LaSalle Street this morning and shot him twice before turning the gun on himself, police said.

The executive, 59, was dead on the scene from a gunshot wound to the head. The CEO of ArrowStream, Steven LaVoie, 54, was wounded in the head and stomach and was in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The executive, whose name has not been released by authorities, had been told last Friday that he was being demoted as the company was downsized, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

He asked for a one-on-one meeting with LaVoie this morning in his 17th floor offices at 231 S. LaSalle St., McCarthy said. Workers heard shots around 9:55 a.m.

The executive was found dead at the scene and LaVoie was wheeled out of the building in a stretcher and taken to Northwestern.

"Apparently he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted," McCarthy said of the gunman. "It's a workplace violence issue."

McCarthy said there was "plenty of security in the building. He's apparently a longtime employee. He comes in with a backpack like an employee normally does. . . This is a personal thing."

LaVoie is married and has three daughters. He founded ArrowStream in 2000, but the company had been downsizing and demoting a number of people recently, McCarthy said.

A SWAT team arrived on the scene within minutes of the shooting but the building was not evacuated. Dozens of people stood and stared as police secured the building, taking photos. A helicopter hovered overhead.

Jay McKeon, 24, works at the building across the street as a commodity trader. He said he saw an older man wheeled out in a stretcher shortly after the shooting.

He also saw a paramedic cock his hand like a gun and point it at his head.

Ambaj Sharma used to work in the building and now works at the building next door. He said he first heard about the shooting through Twitter.

"As soon as I heard 231, I looked out the window," Sharma said.

He said he saw police cars, ambulances and then a man pulled out on a stretcher. "It didn't look good from up there," he said.

He immediately texted and face-timed his brother who works on the 14th floor.

His brother said that, after the shooting, it was announced over the loud speakers that there was an armed intruder in the building and everyone was asked to stay on their floor.

"I think they felt they were safe because they were in a closed space on their own floor," he said.

His brother has still not been allowed to leave the building.

Neil Machchhar works on the 14th floor in the technology department of Advantage Futures. He said he didn't hear any shots but received several texts and phone calls alerting him.

About five minutes later, he heard a voice on the loud speaker announcing an intruder and telling them to stay put. "The person on the PA system sounded shaky too," Machchhar said.

Everyone in his office on the 14th floor was concerned and wanted to know what was going on, he said. "Now that it's resolved I feel fine," he said.

Bank of America employees say they weren't evacuated from the building, and instead received an email informing them of the shooting and that they should remain on their floors and at their desks.

Other employees said they weren't aware of the situation until they left the building and saw the dozens of police vehicles and an ambulance.

Kyle Nearey, who works at the front desk on the 14th floor of the building, said someone outside called her to inform her of the police presence after the building's emergency fire alarm went off.

"I had no idea what was happening, it's pretty scary," she said. "Especially since I'm the front desk girl, there all by myself."

While some employees were frightened, employee Mike Stein said he wasn't too concerned.

"It's obvious to me it was an isolated incident," he said.

Employee Kent Smith also wasn't surprised to hear of the shooting. "It seems like this kind of stuff is happening everyday," he said.

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