Processing Magazine

Police investigate Texas chemical port shooting

January 26, 2004
According to Reuters, U.S. and Texas law enforcement agencies are investigating the shooting of a security guard outside an ammonia terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast, a law enforcement official said on Saturday. A security guard at the BASF Corp., ammonia terminal in Freeport, Texas, 60 miles south of Houston, was shot late on Friday by a man in a pickup truck parked outside the terminal''s fence and within sight of a multistory ammonia tank, said Henrietta Gonzalez, chief of the Freeport Police Department. The guard was listed in good condition on Saturday at an area hospital where he was recovering from a gunshot wound to the shoulder, said BASF spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick. Agents from the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Coast Guard were in Freeport investigating the shooting, Gonzalez said. Chemical plants and refineries have tightened security since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for fear they may be targets in a future attack. The guard spotted the pickup truck while making his rounds outside the terminal''s grounds. When confronted, the truck driver, whom the guard described as having a heavy Middle Eastern accent, said he was taking pictures of the lights of the ammonia terminal and adjacent port, Gonzalez said. The guard said he turned away to make a radio call and then looked back to see the driver pointing a handgun at him. He was shot as he moved to run away and the driver sped off.