Updated: 2:52 p.m.
A driver collided with another car in Corvallis on Thursday morning, fled to the nearby Foster Farms site where he worked and then fired a single gunshot in a bathroom, prompting fears of a potential mass shooting, police say.
It’s still not clear why Adrian F. Nickerson, 22, fled the crash scene, went into the women’s bathroom at the food processing plant and fired the handgun, said Corvallis police Capt. Nick Hurley. No one was injured and it doesn’t appear anyone was targeted in the shooting.
“There’s nothing that leads us to believe that he had a grievance toward anyone at Foster Farms,” Hurley said. Nickerson is a part-time temp worker at the plant.
Nickerson was booked into the Benton County Jail on accusations of unlawful discharge of a firearm, first-degree criminal mischief and failure to perform the duties of a driver. After the incident, the Foster Farms plant closed for the day.
Hurley said Thursday that he didn’t immediately know the circumstances of the crash but described it as minor. Nickerson had abandoned his car by the time officers arrived.
Another employee in the bathroom reported hearing the gunshot around 8:10 a.m., Hurley said. Most of the employees fled the processing plant before evacuations were ordered by officers.
At some point after authorities arrived,Nickerson walked out of the building and surrendered, Hurley said. He was then arrested and later interviewed by police. A police investigation is ongoing. Hurley said he didn’t know how long Nickerson had been working at the Foster Farms plant.
The reported shooting spurred a lockdown at Linn-Benton Community College’s Benton Center.
There were fewer than two dozen students and five staff members at the Benton Center at the time of the incident, Dave Henderson, the vice president of finance and operations, said. The center is located about a block from where the incident occurred.
At 8:30 a.m., Henderson said, the center was on a lockdown and lockout. Staff locked doors and covered all windows. Any classes that were scheduled were put on hold, but by 10:45 a.m. police gave the all-clear to resume normal operations.
In a statement, Foster Farms said it became aware of the incident about 20 minutes after the 911 call.
“The safety of our employees is our highest priority and Foster Farms will provide counseling and support services to its Corvallis employees,” the statement said. “We are thankful this incident was concluded without harm to our employees or the greater community.”
Christina Morales and Jim Ryan contributed to this report.