Yesterday morning, Paulino Valenzuela, who had formerly worked at the massive Bronx housing development Co-op City as a janitor and porter, returned on a shooting rampage, killing a former supervisor and inuring two other men. Then he took the bus and subway to a Bronx courthouse and, covered in blood, he confessed to court officers, "Cuff me, because I just killed somebody. I have my revolver in my bag, and I have the blood on my hands to prove it." Court officers found a .38 caliber pistol in his bag.
Valenzuela had been dismissed from working at Co-op City in 2005 by RiverBay management after a series of incidents where he threatened or lashed out at supervisors and other employees or violated workplace policies. He had filed a lawsuit to get his job back, claiming discrimination on grounds of race and a hearing disability, but last Friday a US District Court judge ruled against his efforts.
Valenzuela entered a basement office and fatally his former supervisor Audley Bent. He then shot at another former supervisor Mike Zadrima (his arm was grazed) and a former co-worker Sander Palaj, who was shot in the neck and will likely be paralyzed. Bent was well-liked by Co-op City residents and his son told the Post, "We were told he was trying to run away and was shot in the back." And Palaj's daughter told the News, "He's a hardworking person. He does everything for us. It shouldn't have happened."
Valenzuela was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of assault, remanded with out bail and will next appear in court on September 5.