I killed the racists
Conducting interviews on this topic is the author of Negrophilia From Slave Block to Pedestal America's Racial Obsession, Erik Rush.
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(wfsb) - Questions are raised after police say Omar Thornton shot and killed eight people before taking his own life at Hartford Distributors on Tuesday morning.
Family members said Thornton was a quiet, hard-working man who wasn’t a violent person, but was simply pushed to the breaking point by harassment at work.
Thornton’s mother, who lives in East Hartford, said she received a phone call shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday. It was Thornton.
She said he told her he had shot several people at the beer distribution plant where he worked, and that he planned to take his own life. She said she spent 10 minutes trying to talk to her son, pleading with him to change his mind, but she said she couldn’t.
Minutes later, Thornton was dead.
“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.
They said they expressed condolences to the families of the victims, but they said they were mourning, too.
“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.
Hollis said that tragically, it was the perfect time of day for this to happen. He said Thornton was exposed to 125 people.
Union officials said Thornton entered the business with a rifle and a red satchel filled with ammunition.
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.
Union representatives said among the dead were Brian Cirigliano, the shop steward for the union. Workers said Cirigliano would have been the one to escort Thornton into the building for Tuesday's disciplinary hearing.
Also killed was Craig Pepin, of South Windsor. A family friend of Pepin's said he recently celebrated his wedding anniversary. The friend said Pepin was a soccer coach and was very popular. According to the friend, Pepin loved his job and never had any work-related problems.
Truck driver Victor James, who had 30 years on the job, was also killed in the mayhem. Gloria Wilson, James' mother, said he would have turned 60 years old this month. She said he loved his job and was planning on retiring soon. Wilson said James had two grown daughters and four grandchildren.
Wilson said before that before James left for work on Tuesday, he kissed her goodbye.
"He went and that was it, I'll never see him again," Wilson said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in New York City in 1961, from 1975 to 1985 columnist and author Erik Rush was a club, stage and studio musician. He's also been involved in biomedical research, sales, marketing and media production.
Rush was the first to break the story of President (then Senator) Barack Obama's ties to militant Chicago preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright on a national level in February of 2007.
He writes columns of sociopolitical fare for WorldNetDaily as well as dozens of nationally-distributed print and online news sources. He's appeared on Fox News, CNN, and is a veteran of a copious number of radio appearances and speaking engagements.