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September 18, 2014

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Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

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M. Spencer Green / AP

Chicago police stand outside a downtown high-rise office building following a shooting inside the building Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Chicago. Police said a demoted worker shot and critically injured his company’s CEO before fatally shooting himself.

Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 | 9:40 a.m.

CHICAGO — A demoted worker shot and critically wounded his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a downtown high-rise office building in Chicago's bustling financial district, police said.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a worker at a technological company pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to privately meet with his CEO. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot in his head and abdomen before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the company was downsizing and "a number of people," including the alleged shooter, were being demoted.

"Apparently he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted," McCarthy said.

The 54-year-old victim was listed in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Police said the 59-year-old alleged gunman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The men's names and the name of the company haven't been released.

About 10 people were in the office at the time, McCarthy said. No other injuries were reported.

The office is in the Bank of America building, which is two blocks from the Willis Tower, the country's second-tallest skyscraper, and a block from the Chicago Board of Trade and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Officers were called to the scene around 9:50 a.m. As police cordoned off the immediate area outside the building, several SWAT team members and other officers rushed inside, where they found two men on the floor, both of them shot.

Workers elsewhere in the building said they received warnings from building security over the intercom and in emails around 10 a.m. telling them there was a security situation in the lobby and to stay at their desks.

"It was a tense atmosphere, everybody was walking around, you wanted more details but they wouldn't give us much," said Stefano Freddo, who works on the building's 10th floor.

He said someone came over the intercom a few minutes later to tell them it was safe to leave their offices.

Freddo, 32, said security officers are stationed in the building, and that workers need a badge showing they work there to gain access to the elevators in the lobby. But he said there are no metal detectors in the building.

"Maybe we should have those," he said.

Associated Press writer Tammy Webber contributed to this report from Chicago.

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