The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

August 26, 2013

Gunman, boss were once close

(Continued)

Allen killed himself at his nearby home.

It was clear to everyone in town that Allen and Pritchett had a good relationship at one point. “You had the assumption, no, the conviction, that they were close,” Maxwell said.

Pritchett grew up in Union County and was constantly involved in businesses, from gas stations to truck companies to his beloved farm, Rolling Oaks.

Residents said he was known around town as Mr. P, a generous man who gave to charitable groups and projects and treated his employees well.

“He arrived at work before anyone else. He was always there for his employees,” Bill Thomas, who worked as a dispatcher for Pritchett for several years, said outside Pritchett’s longtime church, First Christian. As Thomas spoke, the church bell, which can be heard across town, rang.

“He was instrumental in that, too,” he said, explaining that Pritchett helped finance the new bell.

The church prepared for a prayer service Sunday evening. The Rev. Art Peterson said he met with Pritchett’s family and counseled them. “It’s rough. They’re still in a state of shock, but they’re coping,” he said.

Thomas, who left the trucking company six years ago, said he used to see Allen around often, overseeing Pritchett’s farm.

“He was always Mr. P.’s right-hand man,” Thomas said. But it had been several years since he had seen Allen, he said.

Thomas said Allen was the great-grandfather of NFL running back C.J. Spiller, who started a game for the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night despite the shootings.

Thomas said Allen had an influence on Spiller’s life.

“I believe he had a lot to do with C.J.’s upbringing. In the South, families are very close, and grandparents are around every day,” Thomas said. “C.J. is a fine young man and, like I said, Hubert was a fine man. I have no idea why he did what he did. It just blows my mind.”

Spiller was born in Lake Butler and was a star at Union County High School.

After the game against the Washington Redskins, a Bills representative stood at Spiller’s locker and said the running back would have no comment.

On Sunday, flags flew at half-staff at the trucking company’s headquarters.

The company’s website said it employs 400 people and owns hundreds of vehicles that operate around the country.

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