Workplace shooting took place in busy Aberdeen business park

Rite Aid Corp. moved into the Aberdeen distribution center off Perryman Road in 2011, part of a complex with many other large warehouse and distribution operations.

Thursday morning it became the latest site of a workplace shooting.

Three people were killed and three wounded in a shooting at the drug store chain’s distribution center, according to Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler. The suspected shooter, a 26-year-old woman who worked as a temporary employee and came to work armed with a handgun, also died, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Gahler said.

“We are deeply saddened by the events that transpired this morning at the Liberty support facility, which is part of Rite Aid’s Perryman Distribution Center in Aberdeen, Md.,” said Pete Strella, Rite Aid’s manager of communications, in an email. “We are continuing to work closely with authorities as they conduct their investigation... Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved in this tragic incident, as well as their loved ones.”

Strella said the retailer closed the center and is assessing when to reopen it. The company is providing grief counselors to employees “as long as they are needed,” he said.

The area is known as a popular destination for such business facilities, especially as companies seek to meet customer demands for quick delivery or orders online and to stores. Aberdeen, and Harford County generally, are close to major highways and population centers, as well as the port of Baltimore.

Rite Aid is the largest tenant in the building in Enterprise Business Park, according to CoStar Realty Information. Other tenants in the building include Maines Paper & Food, a New York-based foodservice distributor, and Zenith Global Logistics, a trucking company. The building is owned by Pennsylvania-based Liberty Property Trust.

Liberty could not be reached for comment.

Rite Aid has a larger warehouse a little more than a mile away off Chelsea Road that it acquired in 2001.

Based in Camp Hill, Pa., the drug store chain has operated a distribution center in the county since 1997 and employs about 1,300 people, Harford County economic development officials said.

The business park includes three buildings used for warehouse and industrial space. Clorox has a distribution operation in a building across the parking lot, also owned by Liberty.

Cindy Mumb, a spokeswoman for Harford County’s government administration, said Rite Aid shared space with Clorox in the Liberty building, the site of the shootings.

Clorox also stopped operations at its facility, the company said.

“We are deeply saddened by the shootings that occurred today near our facilities in Aberdeen, Maryland,” said Naomi Greer, a Clorox spokeswoman, in an email. “We are grateful our people were safely sheltered during this event and unharmed. We mourn for our neighbors and those impacted by these tragic events.

“We extend our condolences to those who lost loved ones and colleagues and send our best wishes for the full recovery of those who have been injured,” Greer said.

She said Clorox is offering counseling to employees “to help them cope with the emotional impact of this event. We are also working with them to gauge their comfort level to determine when to resume operations.”

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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