The CEO of a Chicago-based company was critically injured in a shooting Thursday morning at his high-rise office in the city's Financial District downtown, police confirmed. Police said the gunman, a recently demoted executive at the company, took his own life.
Police responded to shots fired at 9:50 a.m. at 231 S. LaSalle on the 17th floor, listed as the old Bank of America Trade Operations Building. They found a 54-year-old victim, identified as ArrowStream CEO Steven LaVoie, injured with gunshot wounds to his stomach and his head and the 60-year-old gunman deceased with a gunshot wound to the head.
The shooter was identified by the medical examiner as Anthony DeFrances of Barrington.
"We are deeply saddened and shocked by the events that have occurred today," ArrowStream said in a statement. "Our focus during this tragedy is to ensure the well-being of our ArrowStream family."
McCarthy Describes Shooting as "Workplace Violence Issue"
"We want to assure our customers that our business continuity plan is in place, and our operations will continue to function normally."
According to a profile on arrowstream.com, LaVoie founded the company, which provides supply chain management solutions for the food service industry, in 2000.
DeFrances is listed on the company's website as ArrowStream's chief technology officer, with the company "virtually since its inception."
LaVoie and DeFrances were lying unresponsive on the floor of an office when police arrived. Supt. Garry McCarthy said the victim is in "grave condition."
Police said the gunman's wounds were self-inflicted. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
"What we have here is a workplace violence issue," McCarthy told reporters. "Apparently there's a technological company on the 17th floor. They've been undergoing a downsizing. They've demoted a number of people."
An employee who had been demoted last week arrived Thursday morning for a one-on-one meeting with the CEO, McCarthy said.
"During the one-on-one, he produced a firearm," McCarthy said. "There apparently was a struggle over the firearm, the CEO was struck twice -- he is in grave condition -- and then the man took his own life."
The incident is being investigated as a possible murder-suicide incident, according to police.
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Fire crews arriving to the scene initially were warned that a suspect was still on the floor and still armed, according to radio reports.
Police said the scene was contained at about 10:40 a.m. There was only one gunman involved.
Nearby Ann Taylor and Jos. A. Bank stores locked their doors after reports of the shooting.
Shooting Reported at Chicago High-Rise
Jessica Cazares, who works at nearby Caffe Baci, said she witnessed a chaotic scene outside the building.
"There were people running, afraid," she said, "but we thought it was a movie filming. This time it was a real situation."
Tiffany Baggett, a woman who works in the building, said an alarm went off in the building and everyone was told to stay on their floor of the building. Employees moved to a safer area, she said, away from the glass doors.
"I was just informed as an employee there was a shooting, so we just evacuated our reception area as quickly as possible," Baggett said.
Pedestrians were being held across the street as detectives and police entered the building.