Nine dead after shooting rampage at Connecticut warehouse

August 3rd, 2010 - 11:10 pm ICT by BNO News  

MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT (BNO NEWS) — At least nine people were killed on Tuesday after a shooting rampage at a warehouse in Manchester, Connecticut, officials said.

The shooting happened around 7.30 a.m. local time at Hartford Distributors Inc., a family-owned beer and wine wholesaler. Around 50 to 70 people were inside the building at the time.

The death toll remained unclear for hours, but officials - speaking on the condition of anonymity - later confirmed at least nine people had been killed, including the gunman.

At least several others were also injured in the massacre, but the total number was not immediately clear. The Manchester Journal Inquirer cited a hospital official as saying that one person was listed in critical condition, while two others were in a fair condition.

“At about 7.30 today, we got a call of a shooting at Hartford Distributors on Chapel Road,” said Lieutenant Joseph San Antonio of the Manchester Police Department during a press conference. “The call was very, very brief. It said somebody had been shot and there’s a victim down. The Manchester [police department] asked for a regional, full regional call-out of all the emergency services, including fire department and surrounding towns. State police were obviously called and so was the crest team.”

San Antonio said it took about 1.5 hour to 2 hours to secure the scene, and confirmed there were multiple victims. “It’s an ongoing, active investigation but the scene is neutralized and secured,” he said. He added to say that all victims were employees at the warehouse.

Manchester Police also said that responding officers did not discharge any shots, indicating that the gunman likely committed suicide when police arrived. The shooter was identified as 34-year-old Omar S. Thornton, a driver for the company.

John Hollis, a Teamsters Union official, told Fox CT that Thornton was a recent hire and a ‘disciplinary problem.’ “The union was bringing him in to meet with the company to remedy the problem,” Hollis said. “He started shooting.”

Hollis declined to describe the nature of the disciplinary problem, and he said he wasn’t certain if the meeting had taken place when the shooting started.

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell said she was shocked by the shooting spree. “My hearts and prayers go out to the employees and families of the victims,” she said. “In the wake of this tragedy, we are all left asking the same questions: How could someone do this? Why did they do this?”

“It was a senseless act of violence that has left us all shaken and reminds us just how precious and fragile life truly is,” she added.

A spokesman for the governor said it was not yet known if Rell would go to the scene of the shooting.

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