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‘Pillar To This Community’ Gone From Union County After Pritchett Trucking Shootings

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Update 12:44 p.m.: A third victim has died in the shooting.
The entrance to Marvin Pritchett's farm outside Lake Butler in Union County.
The entrance to Marvin Pritchett's farm outside Lake Butler in Union County.
Jerry Whitehead, Union County sheriff, answers questions at a press conference Monday in Lake Butler.
Jerry Whitehead, Union County sheriff, answers questions at a press conference Monday in Lake Butler.

A 72-year-old Lake Butler man who killed himself after fatally shooting his former boss and a coworker and wounding two others left a hand-written note listing targets, Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead said Monday.

Starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Hubert Allen Jr., a longtime employee of Pritchett Trucking Company, sent members of Lake Butler looking for answers after the sheriff’s office said the man drove to several locations in Union County, shot four men and returned to his farm to kill himself.

Whitehead said the sheriff’s office recovered Allen’s “suicide note” Saturday afternoon. It was three-quarters of a page long, Whitehead said, and looked as if it had taken two or three sittings to write.

Investigators at Allen’s home also found a .22 caliber rifle, a .410 small bore shotgun, and an unfired .32 caliber handgun, Whitehead said.

Whitehead said the suicide note contained names of people Allen planned to kill. There was one name listed that Allen did not go after. Whitehead did not release the name, but said his office interviewed the man, and he was fine.

Whitehead said he was shocked by Allen’s behavior.

Allen did not have any previous incidents with the law, Whitehead said.

He never knew Allen to suffer from any kind of mental health disorder, he said, and could not determine a motive.

Three of the men Allen shot were former coworkers at Pritchett Trucking, according to Union County investigators. The fourth was 80-year-old company owner Marvin Pritchett.

The sheriff’s office said Allen shot Pritchett and Rolando Gonzalez-Delgado, 28, killing both men.

Allen worked for Pritchett for 35 years, Whitehead said. Just nine days before the shooting, interviewees told the sheriff’s office, Allen had retired from the company with no issues. The men were described as friends.

One of the wounded men, David Griffis, 44, was in critical condition and the other, Lewis Mabrey Jr., 66, was in good condition at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Whitehead said.

To show its support, the community is organizing local blood drives to help Griffis.

“It’s tough,” Whitehead said. “We’re going to get through it.”

James Tallman, a Union County commissioner, said Pritchett’s death leaves a hole in the community.

“Mr. Pritchett was an absolute pillar to this community,” Tallman said, “and we’re going to dearly miss him.”

“We lost not one person,” he said, “but we lost several friends in this community.”

At the foot of the Pritchett parking sign in Lake butler, someone laid a bouquet of eight red roses in the grass to commemorate the victims. Beside them sat a cup of red, white and blue carnations. And to the right, a bundle of purple flowers wilted on the concrete.
At the foot of the Pritchett parking sign in Lake butler, someone laid a bouquet of eight red roses in the grass to commemorate the victims. Beside them sat a cup of red, white and blue carnations. And to the left, a bundle of purple flowers wilted on the concrete.

Tallman said the recovery from the tragedy will be a community-wide struggle.

“I think a lot of prayer is what we need right now,” he said.

About Zack Peterson

Zack is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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  • Carrie Alvarez King

    Very sad!! Thoughts and prayers go out to the famlies, and the communtiy :”-(