Ohio shooter asked for police, wanted to be handcuffed

| 11/10/2003

After the Nov. 6 fatal shooting that claimed two lives at West Chester, OH-based Watkins Motor Lines, suspect Tom West asked truck stop employees to call police - and when they arrived, he asked to be handcuffed, according to news reports.

West was arrested at the Iron Skillet Restaurant in the Petro Truck Stop off Exit 143 on I-74 in Versailles, IN, roughly 60 miles from West Chester. Shortly before noon while sitting at a lunch table, he asked the restaurant's manager to call police because "they're looking for me."

West was reportedly calm and polite as he waited for police, but he didn't say anything about the shooting. When authorities arrived, the suspect identified himself and explained he was wanted by police. Then he requested to be handcuffed and asked for an attorney.

The shooting occurred when the gunman drove past the Watkins guard station in a white van, walked into the office and shot five people.

West, whose name is actually Joseph John Eschenbrenner III, was employed by Watkins as an over-the-road driver through the company's Atlanta office from 1998 until he resigned in 2001. He did not know any of the employees shot at the Ohio terminal.

The news reports said a man entered the company's office Thursday morning and used two handguns in the shooting. Donald Haury, 50, of Bellbrook, OH, died at the scene, and Bob Lines, 65, of Cincinnati, died later at a nearby hospital. Glen Brierly, 48, of Hamilton, OH; Gary Fissel, 50; and Billy Claywell, of Cave City, KY, were seriously injured, media reports said. Brierly and Fissel are still being treated at Bethesda North Hospital, while Claywell was treated and released from Mercy Fairfield Hospital.

According to some news sources, Eschenbrenner, aka West, is a resident of Hoffman Estates, IL, a suburb of Chicago.