Man shot, killed by fellow employee on 1st day of work at Alabama company

Published 4:36 pm Wednesday, November 17, 2021

A man working his first shift at a manufacturing plant near Birmingham was shot to death early Wednesday by a fellow employee with whom court records show he had difficulties earlier this year, authorities said.

Deputies found the body of a man who had been shot multiple times when they responded to a call shortly after midnight, said a statement by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities said John Eric Cole, 29, of Birmingham was in his first day on the job when he was killed, and the suspect also worked there. The shooting happened at Samuel Associated Tube Group, which produces metal pipes for industrial use.

Dexter Rashad Walker, 34, was arrested after turning himself in to deputies at the scene, the statement said. He was held without bond on a murder charge, and court documents weren’t immediately available to show whether he has an attorney.

It wasn’t clear what prompted the shooting, but a company statement said the victim, a member of the manufacturing team, and the suspected gunman knew each other outside the plant, which employs 215 people.

Court records show that Walker accused Cole, his son’s stepfather, in March of choking the 12-year-old boy and making threats two months earlier. “My son … told me that he doesn’t feel safe at the home where he (resides) and the stepfather has been abusing him over and over,” Walker wrote.

A judge issued a temporary order requiring Cole and the boy’s mother to stay away from Walker, who then asked a judge in July to dismiss the case because he felt the child no longer was in danger.

The company said it is working with police as it investigates the shooting. Samuel Associated Tube Group is a division of Samuel, Son & Co. Inc., a Canadian multinational corporation.