Authorities Charge Nevada Trucker with Murder in Watkins Shooting

| April 07, 2005

A former employee of Watkins Motor Lines is facing two counts of aggravated murder and three counts of attempted murder after a workplace shooting Nov. 6 at a company terminal.

Tom Christopher West, 50, has been charged with the shootings at the Watkins terminal in West Chester, Ohio. The Las Vegas resident is being held without bond at the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, police said.

West worked for Watkins from October 1998 until November 2001, when he resigned from his over-the-road driving position in Atlanta. The victims did not know West, according to a statement from the less-than-truckload carrier.

At 10 a.m. on Nov. 6, police say West entered the terminal in the Cincinnati suburb, displayed two handguns and began firing. Donald Haury, 50, of Bellbrook, died at the scene and Bob Lines, 65, of Cincinnati, died later at a local hospital. Gary Fissel of Huntersville, N.C., Billy Claywell of Cave City, Ky., and Glen Brierly of Hamilton were treated at two Cincinnati hospitals after being wounded in the shootings.

West immediately fled the terminal in a white van, police alleged. He was arrested without incident two hours later at the Petro Iron Skillet in East Greensburg, Ind.

West’s birth name is Joseph Eschenbrenner III, according to police Capt. Dave Kelly. Investigators know he began going by West years ago but not if he changed his name legally.
Rice County, Minn., issued a warrant for Eschenbrenner’s arrest in Minnesota and the surrounding states for sexual assault of a juvenile, Kelly said.

Watkins has 313 employees at the West Chester terminal and 136 locations nationwide.

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