Steven Yablonski, WFSB-TV (Hartford), August 3, 2010
Questions are raised after police say Omar Thornton shot and killed eight people before taking his own life at Hartford Distributors on Tuesday morning.
“He said, ‘I killed the five racists that was there bothering me,'” said Will Holliday, Thornton’s uncle. “He said, ‘That’s it. The cops are going to come in so I’m going to take care of it myself.'”
Holliday said Thornton had been complaining to relatives that in several years he worked at Hartford Distributors he was confronted with blatant racism.
Holliday said, “He had some instances of racism at the company. They were hanging nooses in the bathroom and writing stuff like that. They were singling him out because he was the only black person there in that area.”
Thornton’s family said he had taken pictures of the threats and said they believe he just snapped Tuesday morning.
“This all could have been avoided,” Holliday said. “He went to the Union a couple of times with issues concerning what was going on, and it was not dealt with appropriately.”
Teamster Jon Hollis flat-out denies any racism or noose. “This is nothing but a guy who flipped out,” Hollis said.
One Union officials, who didn’t want to be identified, said that Thornton was to be reprimanded for stealing. That officials told Eyewitness News that the alleged stealing was caught on video.
[Editor’s Note: An earlier story about this shooting (with comments) can be read here.]