Home Scandal and Gossip Why did Anthony DeFrances, demoted executive, shoot CEO before killing self?

Why did Anthony DeFrances, demoted executive, shoot CEO before killing self?

Anthony DeFrances
Why did one demoted executive attempt to kill Arrowstream CEO Steven LaVoie (pictured).

Anthony DeFrances a recently demoted executive this morning twice shot and gravely wounded his CEO, ArrowStream founder Steven LaVoie in a Chicago office building before mortally turning the gun on himself.

Surviving the attempt on his life, Lavoie a father of three was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in a critical condition. 

The alleged gunman, identified by CBS Chicago as chief technology officer Anthony DeFrances, died at the scene.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy would tell that Anthony DeFrances had recently been demoted as the logistics company downsized.

McCarthy said the executive, ‘despondent over the fact that he got demoted’, went into work this morning and demanded a one-on-one meeting with LaVoie.

During the meeting, he pulled out a gun.

As the two men struggled for the firearm, LaVoie was shot in the head and stomach before DeFrances fatally shot himself in the head.

McCarthy said there was ‘plenty of security in the building. He’s (the gunman) apparently a longtime employee. He comes in with a backpack like an employee normally does … This is a personal thing.’

Witnesses would tell after the shooting on the 17th corporate office floor, loud speakers were used to warn that there was an armed intruder in the building. Workers would be asked to stay on their floor.

Anthony DeFrances
Anthony DeFrances (left), Steven LaVoie (right)

Anthony DeFrances’s ArrowStream profile would reveal that he held a Master of Science in Experimental Psychology and a Masters of Computer Science from the University of Dayton. He was also the father of three.

The profile would also reveal that DeFrances had worked at ArrowStream from 2000 when it was founded by LaVoie.

Perhaps ironically, the logistics company, which provides support to fast food restaurants, in 2000, was this year named as one of Chicago’s ‘best and brightest’ companies to work for.

According to his profile on the Junior State of America website, LaVoie completed a Masters in public and private management at the Yale School of Management after gaining a Bachelor of Arts from The University of California, Berkeley.

The UK’s dailymail would reveal that the California native received numerous professional accolades, including becoming an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 Midwest honoree and an Illinois Technology Association (ITA) 2010 CEO of the Year finalist.

He served on the Board of the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis and chaired its investment committee.

In the end one wonders if the shooting was an instance of Anthony DeFrances being at his wits end, his sense of betrayal given his unbridled loyalty after 14 years, his exasperation of perhaps not being properly recognized, his anxiety that he would no longer afford certain amenities or privileges or the fear that all he had done to arrive at his zenith he was in the end being denigrated and dismissed and reduced to something much lesser than Anthony DeFrances felt in his mind he was worth?

And then there were these comments on the web that made me wonder:

The strangest thing about this story is that an underperforming, psychologically unstable employee was demoted rather than fired. While demotion isn’t uncommon in public sector jobs, it’s now virtually unheard of in the private sector, where the usual practice is to fire the employee outright (unless the employee has a very high level executive position, in which case a demotion is tantamount to a discreet invitation to leave voluntarily). If the company had followed the usual practice in this case by firing the guy and disabling his key card access to the office on the morning of his firing, he might never have had the opportunity to kill anyone before taking his own life. For apparently being a nice guy and offering the employee something rather than nothing, the CEO paid a heavy price.

Redundancy and demotions are always personal and never about business, same goes for promotions too.

When you live in a society that worships money and career over all else, this is the invariable result.

So this demoted CEO couldn’t face the reality that he could no longer afford a membership to his private country club, had to downsize from a yacht as well as his luxurious 5BR condo somewhere in Florida so he goes postal. He obviously didn’t handle the demotion well.

This was a disgruntled employee intent on committing violence – he would have done so even without a gun.



  1. This is a terrible tragedy. I don’t know either of the families, and if you could turn back time, but you can’t. I hope Steve recovers and wish him nothing but the best. One thing I wonder, and I will never know, but if you are going to demote someone that was instrumental with the company’s success, I hope Tony was given some warning and explanation PRIOR to the announcement? He must have been crushed, and this clearly was a big blow to him. Even if maybe there were other issues that we are not aware of, I would have expected Steve to take GREAT CARE in handling what was a necessary business decision considering the value that Tony added to the company. This is just so sad.

  2. This is a terrible tragedy. Compassion from the top on down is needed in tough economic times. In no way am I excusing what Mr. DeFrances did but did the CEO take measures to “downsize” his salary, too? Could this have been avoidable? I don’t have the answers – just the questions. Praying for healing for both families.

  3. I have also know Tony DeFrances for many years socially and professionally and he was nothing but a kind, thoughtful and brilliant man. The pressures of society and the rat race obviously took a mental toll on him. Under performer and his name should never appear in the same sentence. It is a shame this tragic event will be associated with what was otherwise an exemplary life. My prayers and sympathy to both families.

  4. Wow! Talk about jumping to conclusions! Very irresponsible reporting. Very few facts, but a lot of conjecture. I have personally known Tony DeFrances for over 40 years and only knew him as a kind, compassionate Family Man. He certainly wasn’t a under performer. He was instrumental for the company’s success.
    Tony didn’t have the yacht, country club membership, or home in Florida that you allege. Do your homework before you type a single word. Both families are reeling from this tragedy and are trying to make sense of it. If I was your editor, you’d be in big trouble! Maybe one of the Tabloids have a spot for you.

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