DOWNTOWN — The family of a Downtown CEO critically wounded in a workplace shooting offered thanks to doctors and law enforcement officers who helped him, and prayers for the family of the man who shot him.
Steven LaVoie, CEO of logistics technology firm ArrowStream, was shot in the stomach and head Thursday morning, allegedly by a former company executive who was recently demoted, police said.
Meanwhile, an acquaintance of the alleged gunman, who fatally shot himself in the head, said he was "not a monster," and volunteered with a youth baseball league.
Police said they got the call of a shooting on the 17th floor of the Bank of America building, 231 S. La Salle St., at 9:50 a.m. and found two men shot in the head lying on the office floor.
A 60-year-old employee was dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and the CEO, 54, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the CEO was in "grave" condition after being shot twice. A hospital spokesman said his condition was "critical."
LaVoie's family, in a statement issued by the hospital, thanked doctors and law enforcement for "their ongoing and tireless efforts on behalf of Steven."
"A horrific personal tragedy has happened today to two families," the family said. "Our thoughts are also with Steven's extended family, the employees of ArrowStream, who mean so much to Steven. Finally, our prayers are with the other family affected by this tragedy."
Witnesses said the company was ArrowStream, a supply chain technology company for the food service industry. According to the company's site, the CEO is Steven LaVoie, a married father of three. LaVoie lives in La Grange, with his wife and three daughters.
"It's an isolated workplace incident based upon a demotion from a downsizing of a corporation," McCarthy said.
The shooter was identified by officials as Anthony DeFrances of Barrington. He was ArrowStream's chief technology officer, according to the company's website. His LinkedIn profile said he'd been with the company since 2001. He was married and had three children, the company site said.
DeFrances died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and was pronounced dead on the scene at 10:44 a.m., the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said.
A vigil for LaVoie was held Thursday at First Presbyterian Church of La Grange, where he and his family attend. A woman who answered the phone there asked that the family's privacy be respected.
George Volland, who works at Northern Trust Bank, said he met the alleged gunman 10 years ago when DeFrances volunteered for a suburban youth baseball team. Volland said the alleged shooter was a hard worker who took the early train in and the late train home.
Lizzie spoke with a man who was one floor below the shooting:
"I could tell he threw himself into his work," Volland said. "I just want to let everyone know he wasn't a monster."
Volland said he was "floored" by the shooting.
"You read about this stuff, and you never think it's going to hit home," he said.
McCarthy said the company had "been undergoing a downsizing" and that it has "demoted a number of people."
"The employee came in [Thursday] ... for a one-on-one with the CEO. During that one-on-one, [the employee] produced a firearm," McCarthy told reporters gathered outside the office building.
During the meeting "there was apparently a struggle over the firearm" and "the CEO was struck twice," McCarthy said. The employee then "took his own life," McCarthy said.
Police said they were speaking to 10 witnesses from the 17th floor.
Neil Macchhar was three floors below the shooting when it occurred:
Employees in the building were alerted about an "armed intruder" in a nervous-sounding loudspeaker announcement, according to Neil Machchhar, who works on the 14th floor. Machchhar said the building was outfitted with turnstiles that require an ID to get in, and police said the shooter had a valid ID.
Two witnesses saw a white, bloody sheet on a stretcher and an "older gentleman" come out on a stretcher with a respirator.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor, between 1992 and 2012, nationally there were an average of 700 homicides in the workplace per year. A third were in the retail industry and a number of those were people who dealt with the public in jobs that involved the exchange of money.
Arrowstream sought to assure clients business would continue as normal Thursday.
"We are deeply saddened and shocked by the events that have occurred today. Our focus during this tragedy is to ensure the well being of our ArrowStream family," a statement said. "We want to assure our customers that our business continuity plan is in place, and our operations will continue to function normally."
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