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Fla. town mystified over fatal rampage

LAKE BUTLER, Fla. — A longtime employee of a Florida trucking company was once very close with his former boss, and had even been described as his right-hand man. But police say Hubert Allen Jr. drove around Saturday and shot former co-workers and his onetime boss, killing the former employer and another man before turning a gun on himself.

On Sunday, residents in this close-knit community near Jacksonville mourned and tried to piece together what happened. Police did not release new details or information on a possible motive.

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‘‘Mr. Hubert was a real quiet guy,’’ said the Rev. Patrick Maxwell of the Victory Christian Center. ‘‘He wasn’t the type who would go around and say I have a grudge against anyone.’’

Maxwell said he visited Allen’s daughter and grandchildren after the shootings. The family was as surprised as the rest of the town and had no idea what sparked the shootings, Maxwell said.

Allen’s wife died in the late 1990s and he lived alone. Maxwell said he had developed a serious heart disease and his church had prayed for him recently. Allen, 72, did not attend the church, but his daughter and grandchildren did.

It was not yet clear why Allen stopped working for Pritchett Trucking Inc.

On Saturday, Allen drove to a location owned by his former boss, Marvin Pritchett. He shot and killed former co-worker Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado, 28, around 9 a.m., then went a short distance and killed Pritchett, 80, who founded the company in 1980.

A few minutes later, Allen pulled over where another former co-worker was driving a farm tractor, exchanged words with him and fired a shotgun, authorities said. The victim, 66-year-old Lewis Mabrey Jr., was in good condition Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Nickie Doria said.

Allen then went to the company’s headquarters in Lake Butler and shot 44-year-old David Griffis in the stomach, the sheriff’s office said. Griffis was in critical condition Sunday. Allen killed himself at his nearby home.

It was clear to everyone in town that Allen and Pritchett had a good relationship at one point.

Pritchett grew up in Union County and was continually involved in businesses, from gas stations to truck companies to his beloved farm, Rolling Oaks.

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