LAKE BUTLER, Fla. -- On the first day back to work at Pritchett Trucking, an American flag flew at half-staff, flowers were laid at the base of a company sign and the parking lot was full.
Marvin Pritchett, the company owner and employer of 400 people, was killed along with one employee, Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado Saturday evening. A former employee of the business who left two weeks prior, Hubert Allen, Jr. drove to several locations and shot four people in all before turning the gun on himself, according to police. Allen, Jr. also shot David Griffis in the stomach, leaving him in critical condition, and Lewis Mabrey, who was not seriously hurt.
Police guarded the entrance of the business to make sure there were no interruptions, including media, on the first day back to work for employees since the shootings last Saturday. A company spokesperson told Action News the business would be open and run as normal. The spokesperson also said funeral arrangements for Pritchett were pending, likely to be released Monday or Tuesday.
Donald Jackson, who says he went to school and played football with Pritchett, called him a "wonderful man," and said there's still a state of shock in the town. Jackson said most people were trying to make sense of the situation in a town of just a few thousand where mass shootings are unheard of. Jackson is also a family member of Griffis and said the victim remained in critical condition Monday afternoon.
Even Pritchett's business competitors called him a "great businessman" even if they disagreed with his style.
Statement from Pritchett Family
Statement from Jon, Phillip and Robin Pritchett (August 25, 2013)
"Yesterday, we lost our father and our children's grandfather in a senseless act of violence. He was our best friend, role model and a warm and caring man who loved our family, our employees and his friends. His loss is immeasurable for all of us, including Margaret, his wife of 45 years. It is difficult to fully comprehend that he is gone.
Dad was an entrepreneur who lived his life and built his companies based on hard work. He never sacrificed his core beliefs and always put his family and those less fortunate first. He loved our community, his businesses and gave to the church and many charitable causes. He was our hero.
Our hearts go out to Rolando's family as they share in our pain and grief today. We have also met with the families of David Griffis and Lewis Mabrey, who remain at ShandsUF (Gainesville). These are all wonderfull men who have dedicated their lives to their families and our company family. They have our continuing support and prayers for the coming days and months.
Grief counselors will be available to our employees and our extended family. Our thanks go out to the men and women of the Union County Sheriff's Office and all participating law enforcement teams who have conducted themselves with the utmost of professionalism and compassion.
On behalf of the Pritchett family, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for those near and far who have expressed their sympathies and support in our loss. It is a testament to the impact our father had on the community and the many lives he touched. We will find strength in each other and in the knowledge that Dad lived a truly honorable and full life."