Komotini: After more than 30 years as a factory worker, Dimitris Manikas was dreaming of retirement and planned to get married for the third time when a redundancy notice blew his hopes away.

Laid off from his job at a trash can factory in this northern Greek town, the 52-year-old father of two called off his wedding. Without any income, he feared his house would be next to go.

Driven to despair, Manikas on Thursday barged into the factory whose name he had tattooed on his forearm, to turn a hunting rifle on his former boss and another worker, injuring them both. He then held three people hostage, surrendering only after 11 hours of negotiations with police.

In his first public comments since being arrested, a tearful Manikas said losing his job pushed him over the edge.

"I was nothing without a job. I was like a dead man walking," he said by phone. "I only needed a few more years to retire. Is this a time to be unemployed? And if I looked for a job, the way things are now, the way politicians have done things, what would I get — €400 (Dh1,937)?"

"My life was fine, I was ready to get married for a third time," he said. "But my world was turned upside down. You can't do anything without money."

Manikas is being held at a local police station.

Officials have played down Manikas' shooting spree as an isolated incident, but many Greeks also see it as a cautionary tale of the human toll of an economic crisis that has left over one in five Greeks jobless.

"The way things are going financially, thousands of people could end up in my position," he said in an interview arranged through his lawyer. "People need to stand up to this — not the way I did — but they need to react."

His former employer is nursing wounds to the neck and chest in a hospital.