Steven LaVoie, CEO of Arrowstream, was shot by a worker who was recently demoted at Chicago’s Bank of America building on Thursday.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the worker pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to privately meet with his CEO. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot in his head and abdomen before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said.
“Apparently he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted,” McCarthy said.
LaVoie, 54, was listed in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman. The alleged shooter was dead.
A number of Chicago media outlets, including the Sun-Times, identified LaVoie as the victim.
The alleged shooter, Tony DeFrances, was actually friends with his boss for a number of years, a source told the Chicago Tribune.
“They had been friends for years – a congenial relationship between two friends,” the source said. LaVoie started the company in 2000. It’s been downsizing recently, and a number of people have been let go or demoted.
Neighbors say that LaVoie has two sons and a daughter, all grown, as well as a wife.
Pati Schaefer, one of the neighbors, called them a “wonderful family,” adding “We’re all heartbroken.”
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and Chicago police are seen outside a downtown high-rise office building following a shooting inside the building Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Chicago. Police said a demoted worker shot and critically injured his company’s CEO before fatally shooting himself. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
A file photo of LaVoie. (Facebook)
About 10 people were in the office at the time of the shooting, McCarthy said. No other injuries were reported.
The office is in the Bank of America building, which is two blocks from the Willis Tower, the country’s second-tallest skyscraper, and a block from the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Officers were called to the scene around 9:50 a.m. As police cordoned off the immediate area outside the building, several SWAT team members and other officers rushed inside, where they found two men on the floor, both of them shot.
Workers elsewhere in the building said they received warnings from building security over the intercom and in emails around 10 a.m. telling them there was a security situation in the lobby and to stay at their desks.
“It was a tense atmosphere, everybody was walking around, you wanted more details but they wouldn’t give us much,” said Stefano Freddo, who works on the building’s 10th floor.
He said someone came over the intercom a few minutes later to tell them it was safe to leave their offices.
Freddo, 32, said security officers are stationed in the building, and that workers need a badge showing they work there to gain access to the elevators in the lobby. But he said there are no metal detectors in the building.
“Maybe we should have those,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed tot his report.