Mississippi Shipyard Worker Opens Fire, Injures Two Co-Workers

Feb. 22, 2005
Shipyard increased security after shooting; other employees were able to stop shooter

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - A veteran employee opened fire at a shipyard Monday, wounding two co-workers, police said.

Police charged Alexander L. Lett, 41, with two counts of aggravated assault, but were still trying to figure out what prompted the shooting in southern Mississippi.

"We have no reason ... only speculation, and I don't care to go there right now," police Lt. Paul Leonard said.

Lett was a quality inspector who had worked at Northrop Grumman Ships Systems more than 20 years, police said. The shipyard is Mississippi's largest private employer, with more than 12,000 workers, and builds ships for the Navy and Coast Guard.

About 30 people were in the vicinity Monday morning when Lett began shooting inside a warehouse with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, police said.

Two longtime employees were injured. Donald Eddins, 53, was hospitalized in critical condition while Ben Gaffney, 63, was in fair condition, officials said.

Other employees stopped Lett when he tried to leave the building, police said. He was being held on $500,000 bail at the Pascagoula Municipal Jail.

Lett's attorney, Calvin Taylor, did not immediately return a phone call Monday to his office after business hours.

The company increased security at the shipyard and was offering counseling to employees.