Excessive Fee Suit Plaintiff Reported as St. Louis Plant Attacker

January 7, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A man believed to be an employee of a St. Louis manufacturing plant, a plaintiff in a 401(k) excessive fee class-action lawsuit against the company, apparently went on a shooting spree with an assault rifle Thursday at the facility where police said two people were killed and five others injured .

The man identified as the gunman by police at the scene, Timothy Hendron, also apparently died in the incident at the power transformer plant owned by Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB.  Police eventually found a fatality, that was presumed to be Hendron, 51, of Webster Groves, Missouri.  

Hendron’s family was reportedly preparing to identify the body later in the day.  Police said the fatality appeared to be self inflicted and that the man thought to be Hendron was pronounced dead at the scene. Police were told he carried a handgun, a rifle and an ammunition belt.

“Though the department cannot yet release the suspect’s name, we are confident that the suspect in this incident is the person found deceased at the scene,” the police said a Thursday afternoon statement.  

According to media reports Thursday, the fee lawsuit in which Hendron was involved went to trial before a federal judge earlier this week. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey had set aside four weeks to hear evidence in the case in which Hendron and other class representatives are alleging ABB, Fidelity Management Trust Company, and Fidelity Management & Research Company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by subjecting the company’s defined contribution plans to improperly excessive fees (see ABB Excessive Fee Suit Survives Initial Challenge).

The motive for the early-morning attack was still unclear by Thursday afternoon – particularly whether it was connected to Hendron’s involvement in the suit. 

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch account of the incident said it began at 6:30 a.m., as the morning shift began at ABB Power.  About 40 workers were at the facility.  With employees panicking and racing to escape, police searched for the attacker for four hours, according to the newspaper.  Investigators found the body believed to be Hendron, at around 11 a.m. St. Louis time.

Of the five taken to hospitals, three are listed in critical condition and two are listed in fair condition, according to the police statement.

The amended complaint in the ABB fee case is available here. Laughrey’s ruling rebuffing defendants’ efforts to throw out the case is available here.