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Xerox murders

The Xerox building in the aftermath of the shootings
Location Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Date November 2, 1999
8:00 a.m. (HST)
Attack type Mass murder
Weapon(s) Glock 17
Death(s) 7
Injured 0
Perpetrator Byran Uyesugi

The Xerox murders was an incident of mass murder that occurred on November 2, 1999, in a Xerox building in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. Service technician Byran Koji Uyesugi shot at eight people; seven fatally (six co-workers and his supervisor) and one more fired upon during escape. This was the worst mass murder in the history of Hawaii. The case also heightened awareness of workplace violence in Hawaii and elsewhere.

Contents

The shooting

At 8:00 in the morning, Byran Koji Uyesugi, a service technician working at Xerox, opened fire inside the building with a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol, killing his supervisor and six co-workers, and fired in the direction of another co-worker who fled the building. The eighth person was able to exit without any injuries. After the shooting, Uyesugi fled in a company van, and by mid-morning, he was found cornered in the mountains above downtown Honolulu. He then held a standoff with police that lasted for five hours, until approximately 3:00 p.m. HST, when he surrendered to police.

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Victims

  • Christopher "Jason" Balatico, 33
  • Ford Kanehira, 41
  • Ronald Kataoka, 50
  • Ronald Kawamae, 54
  • Melvin Lee, 58
  • Peter Mark, 46
  • John Sakamoto, 36[1][2]

Uyesugi's early life

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Uyesugi lived in the Nuuanu neighborhood of Honolulu. While attending Roosevelt High School, Uyesugi was a member of the school's Army JROTC chapter and was a member of the school's riflery team. Classmates remembered him as a quiet student who never got into trouble. According to his brother Dennis, Uyesugi crashed their father's car and hit his head on the windshield shortly after graduating high school in 1977 coming home from a graduation party and was never the same.[3] He also had a daughter, born in 1996, who attended Queen Emma Preschool in Nuuanu Pali.

Uyesugi had been employed by Xerox as a technician since 1984. Among his hobbies was raising and breeding goldfish and koi, which he would sell to local pet stores. He also had an extensive collection of firearms, and at the time of the murders had as many as 25 guns registered in his name dating back to 1982. Police also recovered eleven handguns, five rifles and two shotguns from Uyesugi's father.[4]

Troubles with his employer

According to testimony from Uyesugi's father, Hiroyuki, Uyesugi was normal until he started working for Xerox in 1984. Then when Hiroyuki's wife (Byran's mother) died in 1988, Byran started to complain that he had a poking sensation in his head.[5]

Uyesugi's troubles apparently began soon after he was transferred to another workgroup. He began making unfounded accusations of harassment and product tampering against fellow repairmen, who had great difficulty placating his anger. Former co-workers who knew him reported the other members of his team allegedly ostracized him, making him feel isolated and withdrawn. His anger was such that he reportedly made threats against other co-workers' lives. In 1993, he was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation and anger management courses after he kicked in and damaged an elevator door. Uyesugi was arrested for third degree criminal property damage.[4] Co-workers told Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel and renowned forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Uyesugi prior to trial, stated that as early as 1995, Uyesugi was openly speaking of carrying out a mass shooting at the workplace were he ever to be fired.[4] He also felt that his co-workers were engaged in patterns of harassment, back stabbing behavior, and spreading of rumors.[6]

In the period leading up to the shootings, Xerox management had become increasingly committed to phasing out the type of photocopier that Uyesugi had been accustomed to servicing. He resisted learning the replacement machine, fearing that he could not keep up with its technical demands. After working around his refusal to train on the new machine, Uyesugi’s manager insisted on November 1, 1999 that he would begin training the next day. In his interview with Dr. Michael Welner, who examined Uyesugi when the defendant brought an insanity defense, Uyesugi reasoned that because he would refuse to undertake the training, management would then fire him. As he told Dr. Welner, “I decided to give them a reason to fire me.”[6]

Trial and incarceration

Forty-year-old Byran Uyesugi's month-long trial began on May 15, 2000. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and claimed that he felt like an outcast at work and that he feared his colleagues were conspiring to have him fired. Dr. Park Dietz and Dr. Daryl Matthews testified for the defense that he was insane, citing the delusions about how others were tampering with his fish. Dr. Michael Welner testified for the prosecution that although Mr. Uyesugi was in his opinion a schizophrenic, he carried out the shooting because he was angry that he would be fired for insubordination, and that his own account of concealment before the crime demonstrated that he knew what he had done was wrong.[7]

The jury found him sane and guilty of seven murders and one attempted murder. He received a sentence of life without chance of parole. Hawaii does not have the death penalty.[8]

He appealed his conviction.[8] In 2002, the State of Hawaii Supreme Court upheld Uyesugi's conviction.[9] In 2004, Uyesugi was considering fighting his conviction based on Rule 40, inadequate representation by his lawyers in his first trial.[10]

In 2005, Xerox and the hospital that examined Uyesugi settled a lawsuit brought by the families of the shooting victims, who felt that both had ignored clear signs of Uyesugi's mental instability.

Aftermath

Xerox vacated the premises at 1200 N. Nimitz Highway after the shooting, and they stood idle until 2004, when the producers of the TV show Lost built a sound stage there to film indoor scenes.[11]

References

  1. ^ "Grand jury indicts Uyesugi for first-degree murder". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 1999-11-09. http://archives.starbulletin.com/1999/11/09/news/story1.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  2. ^ Jaymes K. Song (1999-11-02). "7 dead in Nimitz Hwy. Xerox shooting". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://archives.starbulletin.com/1999/11/02/news/story1.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  3. ^ "’77 crash changed Uyesugi says defense attorney". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 1999-11-09. http://archives.starbulletin.com/1999/11/09/news/story1.html#jump. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  4. ^ a b c Katherine Ramsland. "Psychiatry, the Law, and Depravity: Profile of Michael Welner, M.D. Chairman, The Forensic Panel". TruTV Crime Laboratory. Turner Broadcasting. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/forensics/welner/5.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  5. ^ http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/2000/May/26/localnews14.html
  6. ^ a b "Courtroom Summary". http://www.forensicpanel.com/Courtroom_Summary.ppt. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  7. ^ Suzanne Tswei (2000-06-02). "Judge’s leave to delay trial for one week". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/02/news/story2.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  8. ^ a b Tanya Bricking (2001-07-01). "Uyesugi appeal likely to fail". Honolulu Advertiser. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2001/Jul/01/ln/ln04a.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  9. ^ David Waite (2002-12-27). "2 murder convictions upheld". Honolulu Advertiser. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Dec/27/ln/ln05a.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  10. ^ Ken Kobayashi (2004-08-21). "Xerox killer Uyesugi may fight conviction". Honolulu Advertiser. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Aug/21/ln/ln03a.html. Retrieved 2009-05-04.  
  11. ^ Veitch, Kristin (October 16, 2004). "Lost Secrets Found!". E! Online. http://www.eonline.com/Gossip/Kristin/Archive2004/041016.html.  

External links


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