Matthew Lysiak and Corky Siemaszko, New York Daily News, August 4, 2010
The girlfriend of the Connecticut truck driver who killed eight of his co-workers said Wednesday he left for work on the morning of the massacre “in a daze.”
Speaking exclusively to the Daily News for the first time since Omar Thornton ended his deadly rampage by shooting himself, Kristi Hannah said she did not know he was planning to unleash hell–but she saw something wasn’t right when he left her apartment.
Hannah said that all their plans for the future crumbled in an instant.
“We were engaged, we were talking about having a family,” she said. “I fell in love with him because he was the most gentle man I had ever met. His eyes were so kind. He would never hurt another creature.”
She–along with Thornton’s best friend–also backed up claims by his kin that the 34-year-old gunman snapped after years of being subjected to racist taunts by co-workers.
The rampage was vengeance, she said. He targeted his tormentors.
“Every one of [the victims] was a person I heard Omar mention,” Hannah said. “He didn’t go around randomly shooting people. He knew these were the people who harassed him.”
Thornton, a black man, “was very sensitive about his race,” said Hannah.
“If you called him a n—-r he would go off,” she said. “But he kept it inside. He kept it all bottled up.”
Thornton’s best friend, who asked the Daily News to keep his name confidential, said he also used to work at the beer distributor and saw Thornton subjected to racist taunts.
“No one should have had to endure what that company put him through,” the friend said. “Stuff on walls. Racist comments. I saw it with my own eyes.”