What led Dynachem employee to pull gun still a mystery

What led Dynachem employee to pull gun still a mystery

DANVILLE — The investigation into an attempted murder and subsequent suicide at a chemical company has revealed no clear reason why a longtime employee shot the company president during his performance evaluation, then took his own life.

However, new details emerged Friday about how Keith Rife, the CEO at Dynachem Inc. in Vermilion County, survived Thursday's shooting with what authorities described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Wayne Woodson, 65, of Georgetown and Rife were alone in the CEO's office during the evaluation, according to Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn. The two were sitting across from one another at a round table when Woodson pulled a handgun out of his briefcase, Hartshorn said. Rife was struck twice — once in the head and once in the hip — but managed to grab his side of the table and flip it toward Woodson. That, the sheriff said, likely prevented Rife's injuries from being more serious.

Hartshorn said Rife lost consciousness for a short time, falling to the floor but quickly getting up and making his way out of the office into a hallway, where co-workers rushed to his aide.

Woodson turned the gun on himself. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Friday, sheriff's investigators interviewed relatives and friends of Woodson and searched his personal belongings, according to Hartshorn. The sheriff said that neither probe revealed a motive for the shooting — other than what he termed employment action. Investigators conducted an initial interview with Rife on Thursday at Urbana's Carle Foundation Hospital, where he'd been rushed by ambulance, and Hartshorn said they plan to interview him again in the near future.

DynaChem is a privately held chemical company on a 29-acre site between Georgetown and Westville that employs 54 people. Woodson was its director of new technologies and had been with the company for more than 20 years. According to his LinkedIn profile, Woodson earned his bachelor's degree from Millikin University, his master's of business administration from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.

Woodson was a widower. His wife, Clarice "Candy" DeRenne, was also a chemist and died in 2009, according to her obituary.

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