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Worker dead, employee arrested after workplace shooting at sugar cane facility near Belle Glade

Gunman still armed when deputies arrived
Deadly shooting at Sugar Cane Growers CO-OP near Belle Glade
Posted at 12:27 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 18:35:52-04

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — A worker is dead and an employee has been arrested after a deadly workplace shooting Friday morning at a sugar cane facility near Belle Glade, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Spokeswoman Teri Barbera said deputies responded to the shooting just before 11 a.m. at the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida located at 1500 George Wedgworth Way.

Deputies arrived at the scene and found a 67-year-old man dead near the entrance of the building.

Barbera said they began searching the business and located the shooter still armed with a handgun. PBSO said the suspect, Felix Cabrera, 86, of Belle Glade, was arrested without incident.

Investigators described the shooting as a planned event but did not release a motive.

"Deputies arriving within minutes of the shooting may have prevented the suspect's ability to shoot anyone else," the PBSO said in a written statement.

The name of the victim has not been released, but Barbera said he is a resident of Martin County.

Detectives are still investigating the shooting and have not provided any other details.

The cooperative employs about 550 employees, but it is unclear how many workers were on duty at the time of the shooting.

The Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida released the following statement regarding the shooting:

We are horrified and deeply saddened by the senseless violence that occurred today. The victim was part of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative family, and we are praying for the victim’s loved ones, as well as all our team members and growers. We will be there for one another in the days, weeks and months ahead. We also thank the first responders who bravely and quickly responded to this tragic situation. We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and we are referring questions to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

What is the Sugar Cane Growers Co-Op?

Forty-four small to medium-sized member farms make up the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida.

The cooperative said sugar cane grown by its members is harvested, transported, processed and then the raw sugar is marketed to one of the American Sugar Refining Group's sugar refineries. They produce more than 350,000 tons of raw sugar annually. Once refined, the sugar is enough to serve the average annual demand of more than 9 million people.

Florida is the nation's largest producer of cane sugar, accounting for one in every five teaspoons consumed.