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Nine Killed in CT Beer Company Shooting

Nine Killed in CT Beer Company Shooting

Police are seen moving in on Hartford Distributors, Inc., in Manchester, Conn., Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. Authorities say several people have been shot [AP]

Associated Press

August 03, 2010

MANCHESTER, Conn. – A woman who knows the driver who fatally shot at least eight co-workers and himself at a Connecticut beer distribution company says he had complained of racial harassment at work.

Joanne Hannah says her daughter dated Omar Thornton for the past eight years. She says her daughter had no indication he planned anything violent Tuesday morning after he was asked to resign from Hartford Distributors and refused.

Hannah says Thornton, a black man, had complained to his superiors about a picture of a noose and a racial epithet in a bathroom at the distributor. Her daughter told her the supervisors did not respond to his complaints.

Hannah says Thornton called his own mother after the rampage “to say goodbye and that he loved everybody.”

Company officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Associated Press writer John Christoffersen in Enfield, Conn., contributed to this report.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — A warehouse driver who was asked to resign his job at a beer distributor went on a shooting rampage Tuesday morning that left nine people dead, including himself, and others wounded, company and government officials said.

The number of dead was confirmed by a Connecticut government official who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Authorities were notifying victims’ relatives before confirming the number of deaths, state police Lt. J. Paul Vance said.

The driver, Omar Thornton, had worked at the distributor for a couple of years and been called in for a disciplinary hearing, said John Hollis of the Connecticut Teamsters, who was with company officials at the scene of the shooting.

Hollis would not say why Thornton was being disciplined. When police found him, he had been shot, Manchester police Lt. Joe San Antonio said.

About 50 to 70 people were in the warehouse during a shift change when the gunman opened fire around 7 a.m., said Brett Hollander, whose family owns Hartford Distributors. Adding to the chaos was a fire at the warehouse, about 10 miles east of Hartford, that was put out. Police did not know whether the fire was related to the shootings.

Among the victims was Hollander’s cousin, a vice president at the company who was shot in the arm and the face. Hollander said he thought his cousin would be OK.

“There was a guy that was supposed to, was asked to resign, to come in to resign and chose not to and shot my cousin and my co-workers,” Brett Hollander told the AP.

Joanne Hannah told the Hartford Courant her daughter Kristi had dated Thornton for eight years. Thornton, who is black, had complained about being racially harassed at work, Hannah said. Thornton complained to his superiors, who did nothing about it, she said her daughter told her.

Kristi Hannah did not immediately return a call for comment.

Two victims were taken to Hartford Hospital, spokeswoman Michaela Donnelly said. One was in critical condition, and one was in fair condition. Families of workers gathered at the town high school to wait for information and comfort each other.

The rampage was the nation’s deadliest since 13 people were fatally shot at Fort Hood, Texas, last November. A military psychiatrist is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in that case.

It was the worst workplace shooting in Connecticut since 1998, when a state lottery worker gunned down four supervisors before committing suicide.

Police officers from numerous agencies and police and fire vehicles surrounded the warehouse, on a tree-lined road in an industrial park just west of a shopping mall.

In a statement, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell offered condolences to the victims’ families and co-workers.

“We are all left asking the same questions: How could someone do this? Why did they do this?” she said.

Associated Press writers Susan Haigh and Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn.; John Christoffersen in New Haven, Conn.; and Michelle R. Smith in Providence, R.I., contributed to this report.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    This is just to sad.God Bless the Family's of the victims.This made no since at all for someone to be so unfeeling to do this.

  • Radio2_max50


    about 4 years ago


    How senseless.. The supervisors should have listened and did something about it..

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    This is very sad.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    about 4 years ago


    This is sad. My prayers for all families and friends.

  • White_shirt_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Prayers to the family of the victims. Sense less act.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    Prayers and sympathies to the victims, survivors and friends and families. As usual, the killer got the order backwards; should have shot himself first ......

  • Img_0490_max50


    about 4 years ago


    My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    May the victims (alive and deceased) find peace or go to their respective religious destinations. Omar, killing yourself doesn't make it ok in the end...just cheaper.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    about 4 years ago



  • Ralphie_max50


    about 4 years ago


    As a DET. I work in the HATE CRIME TASK FORCE UNIT and i have investigated numerous of cases as such. not that its an excuse to go on a killing spree, but it does take a toll on some people. there are no winners here . very sad...

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50


    about 4 years ago


    praying for those that lost love ones today

  • Img_0103_max50


    about 4 years ago


    This is just another sad, sick and awful fact of of what our society has evolved into. All too offten we somehow miss the warrning signs of impending desaster, when it comes down to detecting these sick and demonic a$$holes before they strike.

    I can only hope and pray that those who lost their lives, will meet their maker in peace. May GOD Bless all of those that are left behind to morn this ugly and awful tragedy.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Too many of these Active Killer events happening these days. The cowards kill the innocents then smoke themselves before the we can get there. Off-duty LEO's have stopped a few of these AK events but it just happens too much too stop them all. be safe all, carry off-duty when you're out and about, and expect the unexpected.
    Thoughts and prayers are with the families of the innocent victims.

  • Image_max50


    about 4 years ago


    My thoughts and prayers are with the familys. Very sad.

  • Plmb2s3sk_max600_max50


    about 4 years ago


    prayers to the families.

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