UPDATE: Nine people are dead after employee shooting rampage - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Nine people are dead after employee shooting rampage


MANCHESTER, Conn. (ABC) -- The motive behind a gunman's vicious attack at a Connecticut beer distributor that left nine dead has become clearer after a description of the dramatic phone call the shooter reportedly made to his mother immediately after his rampage.

"I killed the five racists that was there bothering me," 34-year-old Omar S. Thornton said, according to his uncle, Will Holliday, ABC News' affiliate WABC reported.

With that, police said Thornton turned the gun on himself.

Thornton was being escorted out of the office building when he opened fire, Manchester, Conn., Police Chief Marc Montminy told reporters Tuesday.

"We believe he was offered an opportunity to quit or be terminated," Montminy said.

Montminy declined to say what led to Thornton's termination, but sources said that he was caught on video stealing beer from the distributor.


MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) -- Police have named the nine people killed and two wounded in a shooting rampage at a Connecticut beer distributor. All except the gunman were age 50 or older, including a 77-year-old man was wounded.

Manchester police say those who died in Tuesday's shootings at Hartford Distributors were 57-year-old Francis Fazio Jr., 56-year-old Douglas Scruton, 49-year-old Edwin Kennison, 51-year-old William Ackerman, 51-year-old Bryan Cirigliano, 60-year-old Craig Pepin, 50-year-old Louis Felder Jr. and 61-year-old Victor James.

Authorities say the gunman, 34-year-old Omar Thornton, fatally shot himself.

The survivors have been identified as 50-year-old company vice president Steven Hollander and 77-year-old Jerome Rosenstein. Hollander has been released from a hospital and Rosenstein is in serious condition.


MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) -- A relative of the man who shot and killed eight co-workers and himself at a Connecticut beer distributor says Omar Thornton's claim that he was the victim of racial harassment doesn't justify his actions.

Annette Levine, cousin of Thornton's mother, says Thornton's last words to his mother were he loved her and that the Hartford Distributors warehouse where he worked as a driver "pushed him over the edge." According to Levine, he told his mother "the company was prejudiced."

But an official with the firm denies there was any racial discrimination. And a union official says Thornton had not filed any racism complaints.

Before the shootings, Thornton had been called to a disciplinary meeting and shown video evidence that he stole beer. According to a survivor in the meeting, Thornton was "cold as ice" before he pulled out a gun and "started blasting."


MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) -- A high-ranking union official says a man who fatally shot eight co-workers at a beer distributorship in Connecticut had been caught on videotape stealing beer.

Police say the gunman was also found dead of a gunshot wound, apparently self-inflicted.

Union officials say Omar Thornton had worked as a driver for a couple of years. They say he had been called in for a disciplinary hearing today and asked to resign, but instead he opened fire at a warehouse in Manchester.

The mother of Thornton's girlfriend says he had complained of racial harassment and that his bosses had not responded. But a union official tells The Associated Press that Thornton had "made no complaint of racism to us or to any federal or state agency."

Teamsters Local 1035 official Christopher Roos says Thornton was "a disgruntled employee who shot a bunch of people."

The rampage was the nation's deadliest since 13 people were fatally shot at Fort Hood, Texas, last November.


MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut official says nine people have died in a shooting at a beer distribution warehouse in Connecticut.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press only on the condition of anonymity about the shootings Tuesday morning in Manchester, about 10 miles east of Hartford.

A company executive says a warehouse driver who was asked to resign his job refused, then opened fire.

Brett Hollander of Hartford Distributors says 50 to 70 people were inside during a shift change when shootings happened.

John Hollis of the Connecticut Teamsters is with company officials at the scene of the shooting. He says the driver had worked at the distributor for a couple of years and been called in for a disciplinary hearing.


MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut official says nine people have been killed after an employee who was asked to resign went on a shooting rampage at a beer distributor outside Hartford.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke about the Tuesday morning shootings to The Associated Press only on the condition of anonymity.

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