FSIS Honors Three Slain a Decade Ago
Leaders of the Food Safety and Inspection Service will take part in two memorial services for the inspectors who were victims of a shocking crime. The owner of a Leandro, Calif., sausage factory who shot them was convicted of first-degree murder.
Two memorial services taking place today and Tuesday remember three food safety inspectors murdered on June 21, 2000, a shocking crime because no agricultural agent had ever been killed in the line of duty before that day, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service. FSIS Compliance Officers Jean Hillery and Thomas Quadros, along with California Department of Food and Agriculture Senior Special Investigator Bill Shaline, were shot by Stuart Alexander, owner of a San Leandro, Calif., sausage factory, who was convicted of first-degree murder on Oct. 19, 2004.
FSIS Administrator Al Almanza will participate in the first ceremony in Washington, D.C., and Assistant Administrator William C. "Bill" Smith will speak at the second in Alameda, Calif. "It's said that time heals wounds, but this is a pain that continues to ache in the hearts of our employees 10 years later," said Almanza, who worked at USDA, the parent agency of FSIS, at the time. "We can't ever forget what happened, and we will never forget these heroes."
The ceremony with USDA employees attending in Washington will take place at 9 a.m. today at the northwest corner of the Whitten Building at the Linden Basswood Tree, previously dedicated to the three. The Alameda event will be held Tuesday in the Memorial Rose Garden at FSIS' Alameda District Office, 620 Central Ave., Building 2C, with the judge who presided over Alexander's trial and family members of the slain employees expected to attend.
Today, FSIS has more than 7,800 field personnel deployed. It created a Workplace Violence Prevention Taskforce after the shootings to prevent similar attacks and also established the position of Workplace Violence Liaison/Intervention Officer.
President Clinton issued a statement a day after the killings, saying in it, "I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic shootings of three government inspectors, including two U.S. Department of Agriculture employees, in California. The federal government is working closely with local authorities on this matter. This grievous act was committed against dedicated individuals who were working to ensure the public's health and safety. I want to join all Americans in extending our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families and co-workers."