By Joseph Serna, Staff Writer
On the morning of March 5, chaos erupted at Kenyon Press in Signal Hill when an employee walked into the office and began shooting at his coworkers.
When the attack ended, three office workers were wounded and the attacker was dead. Outside a throng of media and news helicopters hovered around the scene, waiting for the latest information and a clear view of the workers emerging from the havoc.
“After something like that, you look to whoever’s been through this before,” recalled Neill Taylor, president of Kenyon Press. “You don’t know quite what to expect.”
Within minutes of the shooting, Signal Hill police responded and were cautiously receiving employees as they came out of the building. In the following hours and days, the department did some “handholding” as Taylor puts it, and helped ease the distraught employees back to normalcy. What follows is a letter Taylor sent to the Signal Hill Police Department, thanking them for their conduct on that turbulent day:
Dear Detective [Rick] McCraner,
On behalf of all of us at Kenyon Press, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the expedient and compassionate handling of the shooting incident that occurred at our company on March 5, 2007. The Signal Hill Police Department was on the scene within minutes of the 911 request for assistance. From that moment on, your department worked seamlessly with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department to ensure our safety.
In addition to handling the ongoing incident, steps were taken to ensure the privacy of those employees outside the building from the media. As soon as your department had secured the building and accounted for all our employees, we were transported to a secure location for our debriefing, provided with refreshments and given access to grief counselors. The professionalism and compassionate demeanor of the officers involved in the debriefings helped to minimize our trauma.
During the days following the incident, we received follow-up phone calls and visits from you, Operations Captain Ron Mark and members of the Sheriff’s Department. You personally provided information on contacting Victim’s Assistance for those injured. We were repeatedly invited to contact Signal Hill Police Department for any further assistance required.
The Signal Hill Police Department should be very proud of the professional and caring way in which they serve our community. We are very grateful to each and every one of you and applaud your exceptional impact on our society.
Neill Taylor, President, Kenyon Press Inc.