The facts and the timeline seem to have come into focus in the Manchester, Ct. shooting spree that happened this morning around 7:00 a.m. during a shift change, with the number of deaths settled at nine and events sorted out that lead up to the shooting.
Omar Thornton, 34, a driver for Hartford Distributors, family-owned distributor of wine and beer, had been called to a meeting, having been found stealing from the company. The meeting was to give Thornton a chance to either quit or be fired. A witness at the meeting, Steve Hollander, a vice president at the company, said he Thornton was calm, then pulled a handgun out of his lunchbox and started shooting.
"Then he went out on this rampage," Hollander said. "He was cool and calm. He didn't yell. He was cold as ice. He didn't protest when we were meeting with him to show him the video of him stealing. He didn't contest it. He didn't complain. He didn't argue. He didn't admit or deny anything. He just agreed to resign. And then he just unexplainably pulled out his gun and started blasting."
Hollander said two people standing next to him were shot in the head and killed. He was grazed on the arm and the jaw.
The shooting spree ended with eight dead, then Thornton killed himself when police arrived. Manchester, Connecticut is a small town about 10 miles from Hartford.
The shooting occured during a shift change occured when about 100 truck drivers, sales reps, and executives were were in the facility. When Thornton started shooting, employees scrambled for cover, some running out of the building, others dove under cars.
Initial reports said that the police killed the gunman, but later it was reported that he killed himself. No police weapons had been discharged.
Three people with gunshot wounds were taken to Hartford Hospital where one died. Another is in critical condition and a third is in fair condition.
The mother of a woman who dated Thornton said Thornton, who is black, had complained that he had been racially harassed at work. The mother, Joanne Hannah, said that Thornton complained to company executives, who did nothing about it.
This shooting was the nation's deadliest since 13 people were killed at Ft. Hood, Texas in November. A military psychiatrist is being charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder Â and 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder in that case. It is the worst incident of a Â workplace shooting in Connecticut since 1998 when a state lottery worker killed four superiors before killing himself.
Workplace racial harassment and gun control are the two issues that are raised in this shooting.
Incidents like this always bring up questions of gun control and the easy availability of guns in our society. That easy access, coupled with a declining economy that continually and persistently puts pressure on the less skilled workers in our society, almost seems like a formula for more violence. And when people are angry, when they feel they're being judged or treated unfairly because of the color of their skin and they feel their livelihood is jeopardized, violence is a natural outcome.
Video courtesy of cnn.com.