Gunman Kills One, Injures Three at Auto Plant


                                      JOHN HUGHES, Associated Press Writer


WIXOM, Mich. (AP) -- Prosecutors today charged a man with murder and 25 other crimes in a Ford plant shooting they say might have been

spawned when security officers earlier refused to let him into the plant to propose to a woman.


``We now have information that this was a very deliberate and planned assault on the Wixom plant,'' Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson

said at a news conference.


One plant supervisor died and three people were hurt in Thursday's shooting at the plant 30 miles northwest of Detroit.


Thompson's office issued a warrant charging Gerald Atkins, 29, of Wixom with first-degree murder, 12 felony firearms violations, 11 counts of

assault with intent to murder, auto theft, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.


Thompson said Atkins dressed in camouflage, stole a truck from a landscaping company and went to the Ford plant Thursday.


Atkins had told his boss at a glass company that he had been rebuffed at the plant last weekend when he went there to propose to a woman and was

angry about it, Thompson said. Police and prosecutors still were trying to locate the woman, known only as Debbie.


At Atkins' apartment, Thompson said, police found more guns and ammunition, plus a diamond engagement ring in the trash.


A man dressed ``like Rambo,'' as one witness put it, and carrying an AK-47 shot his way into the plant Thursday, then sprayed gunfire through the

building and outside at a highway.


Some of the shooting occurred in the plant cafeteria, where about 200 workers were on lunch break.


The gunman held police at bay for several hours. He apparently was hiding in storm drain tunnels running under the plant, Wixom police Sgt.

Richard Howe said. He surrendered to police about 4:15 p.m. and has been held in the Oakland County Jail.


The shooting was at least the fifth at a Michigan auto plant since 1994.


Police identified the dead man as Darrell Izzard, 57, of Brighton, the plant's manufacturing planning manager. Plant manager Jeff Haller said Izzard

was married and had three grown children.


Howe said Izzard was not a target, but was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Two Oakland County sheriff's deputies -- who were among the more than 100 law enforcement officers called to the scene -- were wounded after the

gunman went outside the plant. One remained hospitalized today, in good condition. The other injured person was a technician who was hit by a bullet

fragment and flying glass.