ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two hours after authorities say a 30-year-old man shot and wounded three co-workers at an Albuquerque warehouse, he called 911 to tell police he had been the one who opened fire at his workplace after hearing voices in his head.
In a pair of 911 calls released Thursday, Waid Anthony Melton also told a crisis negotiator for the Albuquerque Police Department that he was trying to decide whether or not to take his own life. He hoped the three men he shot during a shift change at the Ben E. Keith food distribution center lived, he said.
“Why should I so eagerly shoot those people and then live a life?” Melton said in the recording.
Melton later shot and killed himself Monday on the northern outskirts of New Mexico’s largest city, despite the negotiator’s repeated pleas for him not to harm himself, police said.
In the 911 calls, Melton also disclosed that a female friend was in the car with him. A police spokesman said he had picked her up after the shooting and that she was not harmed.
University of New Mexico Hospital officials said two of the shooting victims were in critical condition and one stable after Monday’s shooting. They have not been identified.
Earlier this week, Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier said Melton appeared to have dealt with mental health and drug issues, and possibly had been passed over for a promotion, leading to issues with his employers.
On Monday night, dozens of police officers and emergency crews responded to the Ben E. Keith warehouse on the south end of Albuquerque after getting reports of shots fired. They blocked off roads and warned residents in the area to stay in their homes.
After officers found the three victims, they searched the rest of the warehouse but did not find any others or Melton.
The shooting happened on Melton’s day off, said Geier, who would not speculate about a motive.
The chief also confirmed that Melton had used a forklift to block the business’ doors before carrying out the attack.
At one point during one of the 911 calls, Melton references another shooting earlier this year at another Ben E. Keith warehouse in a Houston suburb, saying that he believed his bosses were trying to determine whether he had somehow influenced it.
“That was one thing they were trying to determine was whether or not somehow my telepathic abilities had influenced that.”
Police in Texas said a woman fatally shot one co-worker and wounded another in the other Ben E. Keith warehouse shooting in August before dying in a confrontation with law enforcement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the employees and their families who were impacted by this sudden and senseless act of violence at our Albuquerque warehouse,” the company said in a statement this week. “Although this situation was isolated, we are painfully aware that another workplace violence situation occurred at our Houston, TX facility three months ago.”
The company pledged to make counseling available to employees who needed it.
In the 911 recordings released Thursday, the last thing Melton says is that he’ll meet police at a designated point. Then the recording cuts out.
“I have these voices in my head right now just telling me to end it, and they’re not being so kind about the language,” Melton told the officer during the call.
Police said their search of Melton’s vehicle resulted in them recovering a phone, two loaded rifles, a couple boxes of ammunition, and the revolver they believed he used in the warehouse shooting.
This version of the story corrects the day the 911 recordings were released to Thursday.