Metro companies evaluating safety plans after construction worker killed on the job

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, No --  Police are still looking for the person they want to speak with about the fatal shooting of a construction worker Tuesday. Police released video of someone who may be the suspect in this case.

While police look for the killer, many companies in the metro that have employees who work at sites throughout Kansas City are re-evaluating their security plans.

"We don’t want people to get to the point where they are afraid for their lives," said Aaron Balliet, utility repair manager for the KCMO Water Department. "They come to work, and we want to send them home to their families.”

When he heard of the shooting death of 23-year-old Johnathon Porter at a Spire Energy utility construction site, it hit Balliet hard.

"If I was that manager that had to make a phone call that I had a fatality, I have had the luxury of never having to make one of those phone calls and that would be a pretty tough conversation," Balliet said.

From day one, water department employees are trained to deal with a variety of issues on sites. Now the conversation within the KCMO Water Department is how to best prevent a deadly tragedy happening with one of its crews.

"So what we are focusing on now is how do we reeducate or refresh our employees to be ready for situations like this," Balliet said.

On Tuesday morning, police say a stranger walked up to a crew working for Spire on a gas line replacement project and asked for a cigarette. When told they did not have one, police say he opened fire, shooting Porter in the chest, killing him.

Balliet said it is difficult to plan for all of the different scenarios in the field. Everyone is unique. His comment when asked if the water department is considering armed security for workers: "That I don’t know at this time. I mean obviously because of the situation we are thinking about it, and we are thinking about what happens next.”

Several of Porter's co-workers said the day Porter was killed, Spire had a sheriff's deputy driving between six sites, monitoring crews but was not at 9th and Brooklyn when Porter was killed.

Spire Energy sent the following statement when asked about security measures going forward:

"Spire construction crews have returned to most job sites in the Kansas City metro area today. At this time, work in the areas surrounding 9th and Brooklyn remains on hold. Spire is focused on the safety of all employees and we continually evaluate our security plans. Appropriate security measures have been implemented. However, we do not disclose the specifics of those plans."



More News