Alabama man shot dead by co-worker on first day in new job

John Eric Cole was allegedly gunned down by acquaintance Dexter Rashad Walker during his very first shift at a manufacturing plant.


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mug shot of Black man
Dexter Rashad Walker (above) has been charged with murdering John Eric Cole – during the victim’s very first shift at a new job
(Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

It’s usually fear of the unknown that makes starting a new job a nerve-racking experience.

But for one Alabama man it was precisely the familiar that meant his first shift at a new workplace would tragically also be his last.

John Eric Cole, 29, of Birmingham, was shot dead this week by a co-worker he reportedly knew on his very first day at a new manufacturing job in nearby Pinson.

Jefferson County deputies responded just after midnight on Wednesday morning to reports of a shooting at Samuel Associated Tube Group, a steel tube manufacturing facility.

The victim – identified as Cole – was found to have been shot several times in the back during his first shift at the company, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The suspected shooter, 34-year-old Dexter Rashad Walker, had initially fled the scene but was identified by witnesses as a fellow employee, reported.

Walker returned shortly afterwards and turned himself in to law enforcement, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

He was taken to the Jefferson County Jail, where he is being held without bond on a murder charge.

It isn’t clear what led to the shooting, but a company statement revealed that the victim and suspect knew each other outside of the plant, which employs 215 people.

In March, Walker had accused Cole, his son’s stepfather, of choking the 12-year-old boy and making threats two months earlier, according to court records obtained by the Associated Press.

“My son … told me that he doesn’t feel safe at the home where he (resides) and the stepfather has been abusing him over and over,” Walker wrote, according to court documents.

A judge issued a temporary order requiring Cole and the boy’s mother to stay away from Walker. In July, Walker asked a judge to dismiss the case as he felt the boy was no longer in danger.

Samuel Associated Tube Group said it is fully cooperating with the police investigation into the shooting.

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