By STEPHEN SINGER, Associated Press Writer – 19 mins ago
MANCHESTER, Conn. – A black warehouse driver who had complained of racial harassment at work went on a shooting rampage at a beer distributorship Tuesday after he was asked to quit, killing eight people before apparently committing suicide, authorities said.
At least two people were also wounded, one critically. The number of dead was confirmed by two government officials who were 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 and the identities of those shot, state police Lt. J. Paul Vance said.
The gunman, identified by a company executive as Omar Thornton, had worked at the distributorship for a couple of years and had been called in for a disciplinary hearing, said John Hollis, a Teamsters official who was with company officials at the scene of the shooting. Hollis would not say why Thornton was being disciplined.
Police found Thornton with a fatal gunshot wound, Manchester police Lt. Joe San Antonio said. A police sharpshooter had approval to fire on Thornton when he killed himself, an official with knowledge of the scene told the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it.
Thornton called his mother after shooting his co-workers, his girlfriend’s mother said.
“He wanted to say goodbye and he loved everybody,” said Joanne Hannah, whose daughter Kristi had dated Thornton for eight years.
Thornton had complained to his superiors about harassment, Joanne Hannah said. A picture of a noose and a racial epithet had been hung on a bathroom wall at the beer distributorship, Hannah said. She said her daughter told her that Thornton’s supervisors had not responded to his complaints.