Saturday, November 8, 2003

Memorial recalls 1995 shootings

Three co-workers slain by angry gunman in Evendale

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

EVENDALE - Near the bend in Evendale Drive sits a 3-foot round stone with a small brass plaque simply reading: "In Loving Memory of Donald J. Kreamelmeyer, Bob Kinney, Christina L. Teetzel."

It has no date, no details.

There is no explanation that the three were Trans-Continental Systems Inc. trucking employees shot to death on Dec. 15, 1995, by disgruntled co-worker Gerald Clemons.

Until two months ago, the memorial was at the site of the shooting, 10751 Evendale Drive. After Trans-Continental moved next door, company officials asked the village to preserve the monument.

"We thought the new owners were going to tear down the old building. We wanted them to put it in a park setting, where people could visit it," said Shane Qualls, chief operating officer at the company founded here 19 years ago.

Qualls, a trucking company executive, did not want to talk about his employees' reaction to a similar shooting Thursday at Watkins Motor Lines Inc. in West Chester, about three miles north.

"We've been very respectful of the families. We don't have any comment," Qualls said.

The Evendale memorial was erected after the 53-year-old Clemons had fatally shot Teetzel, a payroll clerk from Lebanon, and dispatchers Kreamelmeyer, 47, of North College Hill, and Kinney, 40, of Amelia.

Clemons, reportedly upset by money problems and minor work-related issues, fired 10 shots in six minutes from two semiautomatic weapons. He then walked out of the terminal, put the two guns on the trunk of his Buick, and surrendered to police.

Village officials acted quickly in September to save the memorial. It was placed next to an old St. Rita School for the Deaf brick pump house near Mike Albert Leasing Inc.

"We thought that it was a good thing for the village to do, to honor these people in this way," said Bill Puthoff, vice mayor.

On Friday, it was adorned with a potted plant and a small bouquet of artificial flowers. The village will plant new flowers next spring, said Kaye Oakes, assistant administrator for the village public works department.

"We're also talking about putting some picnic tables there, so people could sit and have lunch in the area," Puthoff said.

Evendale officials said the company, founded here in 1984, was tight-lipped about the monument just before the move. When council member Harold "Stiney" Vonderhaar went to see Trans-Continental managers about relocating the stone, he was asked to discuss the matter outside the office.

"Most of the people who were working there now don't know about (the shooting), and they didn't want them to know about it because of the fear factor," said Vonderhaar, a retired Evendale police officer who was the first to arrive on the murder scene eight years ago.

Clemons, a Westwood resident, was convicted of aggravated murder in 1996. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in 1998, ruling that Clemons had acted with "prior calculation and design."

He is on death row in the Mansfield Correctional Institution.


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