A 57-year-old employee at an egg farm in Maine was killed Monday by a coworker who was reportedly shooting at rodents and stray chickens, according to the Portland Press Herald. Police are investigating whether the shooter should be charged with criminal negligence.
The shooting took place near Turner, Maine, at facilities operated by Moark Egg Farm. The facilities were formerly owned by DeCoster Egg Farm, the egg producer at the center of a massive Salmonella outbreak and recall of more than 500 million eggs in the summer of 2010.
The victim was shot with a .22-caliber rifle inside a barn on the farm. According to police, he left that barn and then collapsed in another building, where he reportedly remained for anywhere from several minutes to almost an hour before another worker found him.
The victim died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. He had been employed at the farm for 15 years.
Loud machinery on the farm may have drowned out the sound of gunfire, and police say it’s not clear if the victim was aware that another employee was firing a gun.
The shooter is not currently under arrest as police continue to investigate the incident.
The DeCoster Salmonella outbreak of 2010 was blamed for nearly 2,000 Salmonella infections and resulted in owner Austin “Jack” DeCoster facing criminal charges and selling off the company’s Maine facilities. Federal investigators found unsanitary conditions at DeCoster facilities they inspected in Iowa, including dead chickens, rodents and towers of manure.
The Moark Egg Farm where the killing took place is now owned by Land O’Lakes.© Food Safety News