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Michael Kenneth McLENDON






The Geneva County massacre
Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Parricide - Revenge
Number of victims: 10
Date of murders: March 10, 2009
Date of birth: September 19, 1980
Victims profile: Lisa White McLendon, 52 (his mother) / James Alford White, 55 (his uncle) / Tracy Michelle Wise, 34 (daughter of James White) / Dean James Wise, 15 (son of Tracy Wise) / Virginia E. White, 74 (his grandmother) / Andrea Dawn Myers, 31 / Corrine Gracy Myers, 18 months (daughter of Andrea Myers) / James Irvin Starling, 24 / Sonya Lolley Smith, 43 / Bruce Wilson Maloy, 51
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Coffee/Geneva County, Alabama, USA
Status: Died of self-inflicted gunshot wound after shootout with authorities at Reliable Products, state Highway 27, Geneva, the same day

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The Geneva County massacre, which occurred on March 10, 2009, spanned at least two communities, Geneva and Samson in Geneva County, Alabama, and resulted in the death of 11 people, including the 28 year old gunman, Michael Kenneth McLendon.

The victims included members of the McLendon family; he also burned down his mother's house in the town of Kinston, Alabama. When law enforcement reached him, McLendon was shot and killed, though it was initially unclear whether the shot was self-inflicted. Later reports said he committed suicide.

Timeline of events

The attacks began at McLendon's residence in Kinston, Alabama, where he killed his mother and set the house on fire.

He went to a relative's home in Samson where he shot several members of his family as well as a neighbor and her daughter. McLendon left the family member's home, killed a pedestrian alongside the road, then stopped at a local gas station, killing a customer inside.

McLendon left the gas station heading along Alabama Highway 52 towards Geneva, Alabama. He killed another man who was attempting to subdue him. The suspect is also said to have fired at cars on the highway. Law enforcement officers at one point used the PIT maneuver on the suspect's car which failed to stop him. He died in a shoot-out in a Geneva metal products plant in which he is said to have previously worked. During the shoot-out, Geneva police chief Frankie Lindsey was shot in the arm. Several people were also injured.


The ages of the victims ranged from 18 months to 74 years old. Among the victims were the wife and child of a deputy sheriff, along with the suspect's own mother, grandmother, uncle, niece and 2 cousins. According to a local police officer:

Five were killed in a trailer in Samson. Two more were killed in the Big and Little Store in Samson. The suspect was killed in the Reliable store in Geneva. It is uncertain whether he killed himself or was killed by one of the sheriffs. He shot at several vehicles on the highway and then he shot at Wal-Mart and Piggly Wiggly in Geneva.

The victims were:

  • Lisa White McLendon, 52, Michael McLendon's mother
  • James Alford White, 55, McLendon's uncle
  • Tracy Michelle Wise, 34, daughter of James White
  • Dean James Wise, 15, son of Tracy Wise
  • Virginia E. White, 74, McLendon's grandmother
  • Andrea Dawn Myers, 31
  • Corrine Gracy Myers, 18 months, daughter of Andrea Myers
  • James Irvin Starling, 24
  • Sonya Lolley Smith, 43
  • Bruce Wilson Maloy, 51


Police believe that Michael Kenneth McLendon (September 19, 1980 - March 10, 2009), killed at least 11 people, including himself, during the shooting; he shot other family members and strangers, and shot and killed his mother and burned her house. The killings took place in Coffee and Geneva counties, and ended with McLendon's suicide.

Detectives have discovered a hit list in his home targeting several corporations. A letter was also found in which McClendon admitted to killing his mother and that he planned to commit suicide. The letter also mentioned a dispute over a legal issue with his family.

Federal troops

In response to a request for assistance from the Geneva County Sheriff's Office and Samson Police, troops from nearby Fort Rucker were deployed to the streets of Samson where they manned traffic stops and guarded a makeshift morgue. An Army investigation later determined this to be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits federal troops from performing law enforcement actions, and took administrative action against at least one officer.


One day later a school shooting causing 15 deaths took place in Winnenden, Germany. Whether the massacre in Geneva County was an actuator for this could not be finally determined.


Victims of the Geneva County shooting

The victims killed Tuesday in a shooting spree by Michael McLendon:

His mother: Lisa White McLendon, 52; found shot to death inside her burning home in Kinston.

His uncle: James Alford White, 55, of 201 W. Pullum St., Samson; the former City of Samson employee in charge of water, street, sanitation and sewer. White, the brother of Lisa McLendon, was shot at his house.

His first cousin: Tracy Michelle Wise, 34, who lived down the street at 204 W. Pullum St., former assistant city clerk and magistrate for the City of Samson and daughter of Alford White. Shot at her father’s house.

His second-cousin: Dean James Wise, 15, a ninthgrade student at Samson High School, and son of Tracy Wise. Shot at grandfather’s house.

Neighbor: Andrea Dawn Myers, 31, of 200 W. Pullum St., wife of Geneva County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Myers, who was involved in the pursuit of McLendon, not knowing that his wife and child had been shot. Shot at White’s house.

Deputy’s daughter: Corinne Gracy Myers, 18-month-old daughter of Andrea and Josh. Shot at White’s house.

His grandmother: Virginia E. White, 74, who lived in a trailer at 201-1 W. Pullum St. in the yard of her son, Alford White. Shot in the doorway of her home.

A pedestrian: James Irvin Starling, 24, of Wise Street, Samson, who was walking south on Wise Street at the time of the shooting, just a few hundred yards from
the site of the Pullum Street shooting. Employed at Dollar General in Samson.

Inland customer: Sonja Lolley Smith, 43, killed at Big Little/Inland store on Main Street in Samson.

Motorist: Bruce Wilson Maloy, 51, while driving in his vehicle on state Highway 52 in Samson. He was a welder by trade.

Shooter Michael McLendon, 28. Died of self-inflicted gunshot wound after shootout with authorities at Reliable Products, state Highway 27, Geneva.

Also injured

Ella Myers, 3-month-old daughter of Andrea and Josh Myers, at the White home on Pullum Street, Samson; transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., with a gunshot wound to the groin. Ella is in stable condition after surgery.

Jeffrey Lynn Nelson, 50, on West Main Street, Samson, traveling in a company vehicle a few blocks from the Pullum Street shootings on Highway 52.
Greg McCullough, 49, at Big Little/Inland convenience store on West Main Street.

Mike Gillis, Alabama State Trooper injured by broken glass after McLendon shot at him while driving on state Highway 52 in Geneva.

Frankie Lindsey, Geneva Police Chief, shot in the shoulder in front of Wal-Mart in Geneva on state Highway 52.

Ricky Morgan, Geneva Police Department lieutenant, minor injuries from flying glass on state Highway 52 in front of Geneva Wal-Mart.


Ala. gunman left list of those who wronged him

By Jessica Gresko and Desiree Hunter

March 11, 2009

SAMSON, Ala. — The gunman who killed 10 people and committed suicide in a rampage across the Alabama countryside had struggled to keep a job and left behind lists of employers and co-workers he believed had wronged him, authorities said Wednesday.

The lists found in Michael McLendon's home included a metals plant that had forced him to resign years ago and where he ended up killing himself Tuesday to end the rampage, District Attorney Gary McAliley said. Also on the list were a sausage factory from which he suddenly quit last week and a poultry plant that suspended his mother, McAliley said.

The pages torn from a spiral notebook included names of co-workers who he felt had wronged him, including one who reported him for not wearing ear plugs, another who made him clean a meat grinder and a supervisor who didn't like the way he cut pork chops, McAliley said.

"We found a list of people he worked with, people who had done him wrong," said McAliley in an interview outside the charred house where the rampage began.

Investigators offered no immediate explanation for why McLendon targeted relatives and others who weren't on the list as he fired more than 200 rounds in a roughly 20-mile trail of carnage across two counties near the Florida state line.

The district attorney said a piece of paper found in the house he shared with his mother also included the names of nine lawyers in the area. He said McLendon apparently wanted to hire a lawyer in a dispute with members of his family over getting a family Bible returned to him, but details weren't clear.

McLendon began his killing spree across three southern Alabama communities by burning down his home, and ended it by taking his own life at Reliable Metals, where he worked until 2003. McAliley said he believes McLendon had planned more violence at the Pilgrim Pride plant in Enterprise, where his mother worked, and the place he recently quit, Kelly Foods in Elba.

McLendon's complete work history wasn't immediately known, but he left the metals plant in Geneva in 2003 and apparently worked at Pilgrim's Pride before joining the sausage factory in 2007.

Lt. Barry Tucker of Alabama Bureau of Investigations said at a news conference that McLendon was "somewhat depressed about job issues" but that investigators don't believe the shootings were job-related.

"There's no specific indication of 'This is why I did it,'" said Tucker who wouldn't release a motive.

Federal court records show McLendon and his mother are among Pilgrim Pride employees who filed a lawsuit in 2006 against the Pittsburg, Texas-based poultry firm over claims of unfair compensation. A company spokesman did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The district attorney said records found in the home indicate Lisa McLendon was
accused of misstating her hours but was due to resume work March 17. The company
wouldn't comment on the reason she was suspended.

In the span of about an hour, McLendon, 28, set his home on fire, killed five relatives and five bystanders and committed suicide in a standoff at the plant.

"The community's just in disbelief, just how this could happen in our small town," said state Sen. Harri Anne Smith, from the nearby town of Slocomb. "This was 20-something miles of terror."

At a prayer service at First Baptist Church of Samson, Rev. Steve Sellers made no attempt to explain what would drive someone to commit such an act.

"Father, there are times in life when we don't have answers to the question why," Sellers said to several hundred people in the church, where sobs could be heard. "I don't know what set a young man off like that, but I too want to pray for his family."

It was not clear how long McLendon had been planning the attack, but authorities said he armed himself with four guns _ two assault rifles with high-capacity magazines taped together, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol _ and may have planned a bigger massacre than he had time to carry out.

"I'm convinced he went over there to kill more people," said Sheriff Dave Sutton.

The shooting was the deadliest attack by a single gunman in Alabama history, and plunged Samson, a community of about 2,000 where McLendon grew up and where most of his victims lived, into mourning.

The town is so close-knit that the mayor coached McLendon in T-ball when he was a boy, and the dead included the wife and daughter of one of the sheriff's deputies who was sent to chase McLendon.

As word about the killings spread, graduates of the local high school scrambled to find their yearbooks, and many realized they knew the gunman.

"Something had to snap," said Jerry Hysmith, 35, who worked with McLendon at the metals plant in 2001.

Among the dead were some of the very people who might have helped explain what set off McLendon _ his grandmother, his mother, an uncle and two cousins.

This much is clear: McLendon had a hard time keeping a job over the years, and had been forced to resign from his position at a local Reliable Metals plant in 2003, authorities said. Investigators would not say why.

That year, he tried to join the police academy, but lasted only a week before flunking out, authorities said. His next known job came in 2007, at a nearby sausage plant operated by Kelley Foods.

The company said he quit last week but was considered a team leader and was well-liked by employees.

The rampage started around 3:30 p.m., when McLendon put his mother on an L-shaped couch, piled stuff on top of her and set her ablaze, authorities said. Before he left, he also shot four dogs. Investigators did not immediately say whether the woman was dead or alive when the fire was set.

Inside the charred home, a gun safe was left with its door ajar, and military gear, including a camouflage jacket and green military-style backpack, was found about the home. In another room, remnants of his baseball career, including a 1995 All-Star trophy, were prominently displayed.

McLendon then drove a dozen miles and gunned down three other relatives and the deputy's wife and daughter on a porch and shot his grandmother at a house next door, sending panicked bystanders fleeing and ducking behind cars. His uncle's wife, Phyllis White, sought refuge in the house of neighbor Archie Mock.

"She was just saying, `I think my family is dead. I think my family is dead,'" Mock said.

McLendon went inside the house and chased his aunt out before driving off, said Tom Knowles, who was at his son's house nearby and saw the shooting. Knowles said McLendon returned moments later in his car as if looking for the aunt, then turned and looked at Knowles.

"He had cold eyes. There was nothing. I hollered at him. I said, 'Look, boy, I ain't done nothing to you,'" Knowles said. McLendon then left for good.

Then, McLendon shot three more people at random as he drove toward the metals plant, firing from his car.

At the metals plant, McLendon got out of his car and fired at police with his assault rifle, wounding Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, authorities said. Then he walked inside and killed himself.

The victims included the wife and 18-month-old daughter of sheriff's Deputy Josh Myers, who was sent to chase McLendon. Myers did not know then that his wife and daughter were among the dead. His 4-month-old daughter was wounded in the attack.

"I cried so much yesterday, I don't have a tear left in me," said Myers, who did not know McLendon. "I feel like I should be able to walk in the house and my wife would be there, my baby girl climbing on me."


Cops Close to Motive in Murderous Rampage

Ala. Gunman Turns Towns Into Slaughter Houses

By Steve Osunsami, Bill Carter, Mark Mooney, Mary McGuirt and Dean Schabner

March 11, 2009

Investigators said this evening they are close to unravelling the mystery behind what led Michael McLendon to go on a grisly shooting rampage, killing 10 people, including his mother and grandmother before killing himself.

But according to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the killing spree had nothing to do with a list of co-workers that was found in a notebook in his partially burned home, which law enforcement officials earlier indicated might have provided clues to his motive.

The list included "the names of co-workers and some supervisors," Coffee County Assistant District Attorney Tom Anderson told

"He had jotted down notes for having been reported by employees for a job related infraction or for being reprimanded. He was obviously upset with them," Anderson said.

At a news conference this evening, though, ABI officials described that list as an employee phone list from Kelley Foods, a sausage factory where McLendon worked until last week, and said it was found in a notebook that appeared to be more than a year old.

The ABI officials refused to go into detail about what McLendon's motive might have been, but insisted that it did not appear to be job related.

Though law enforcement officials had characterized the list as a possible key to what set the man off, they said most of McLendon's victims were members of his family and no one on the list was among the dead.

"He cleaned his family out," Coffee County coroner Robert Preachers said. "We don't know what triggered it."

Coffee County District Attorney Gary McAliley had told The Associated Press the list was a compilation of people "who had done him wrong."

The list also included several companies, including Kelley Foods and Reliant Metals, a factory where McLendon, 27, worked in 2003.

Also on the list, according to federal court records obtained by the AP, was Pilgrim Pride, a poultry plant where he and his mother had worked. According to the records, McLendon and his mother, along with other plant employees, had sued Pilgrim Pride over compensation claims from when they were suspended in 2006.

McLendon's murderous spree began with the execution-style killing of his mother and ended at Reliant Metals, where he was cornered by police and shot himself in the head.

It appeared that McLendon had intended to keep hunting victims at the factory.

"He had plenty of ammo in his car and other weapons, and he appeared to be going to do some damage there," Kirke Adams, district attorney for Geneva and Dale counties, told the AP.

Alabama state trooper John Reese told "Good Morning America" this morning, "We are still unclear of what caused the incident."

The shooter is described by former classmates and officials as a "quiet" person who was briefly a member of the local police department, but left the force without finishing his training. McLendon abruptly quit his job at Kelley Foods last week where he was called a respected "team leader."

McLendon's killing spree began in Kinston, Ala., just north of the Florida line, where he shot his mother, Lisa McLendon, execution style.

"She was shot in the head," Anderson said.

The woman was found lying face down on her couch. Anderson said that her body was covered with the corpses of her three dogs apparently shot by McLendon, and covered up with a pile of clothes. She was doused with an accelerant and the couch was set on fire, he said.

Police say the heavily armed McLendon then got into his car and drove through two towns, stopping or slowing down to fire at people on their porches, at a gas station, or on the street.

Toward the end of his attack, McLendon engaged in a running gun battle with police who tried to ram his car to stop him.

"He opened up on us with an AK-47," said Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, who was wounded in the shoulder. "That's what it looked like. It could have been an M-16, but it was an assault rifle, automatic. And he burst about 15 to 18 rounds on our vehicle, all at once."

"It looked like he was trying to kill us. There's no doubt about it," Lindsey said. "We were face-to-face with him. He just put the weapon out the window and let go a burst."

Lindsey said his bulletproof vest saved his life. "The vest comes in play, I promise you," he said with a nervous laugh.

It was later determined that McLendon was armed with two high powered assault rifles, a Soviet-made SKS and a Bushmaster. He also had at least one . 38 caliber pistol, police said. He fired more than 200 rounds, police said at a news conference today.

The carnage ended when McLendon drove to the Reliant Metals factory where he once worked and exchanged more shots with the police before he went inside and shot himself to death, police said.

After leaving his mother's house Tuesday afternoon, McLendon drove 12 miles to the town of Samson, where he mowed down several of his own family members as they sat on a porch. Among the dead were an uncle, a cousin and a nephew.

Also cut down were Andrea Myers and her 18-month-old daughter child Corinne, the wife and daughter of a Geneva County sheriff's deputy. The two had stopped by to visit on their neighbor's porch. Only a 4-month-old baby, Ella Myers, covered in her mother's blood, survived the onslaught.

'He Sprayed Bullets Through the Town'

He then shot his 74-year-old grandmother next door.

Barry Aplin told the Dothan Eagle newspaper that he saw McLendon chase a woman into her house and open fire.

"I saw him in the living room just blazing the world up," Aplin said.

The gunman then got into his car and began driving around the tiny town, shooting through the car window at whoever unfortunately caught his attention.

"He sprayed bullets through the town," Adams said.

Sonya Smith, 43, was shot dead when she stepped out of a gas station. Another motorist, Bruce Malloy, was killed as he drove past McLendon. James Starling, 24, was sprayed with bullets as he tried to run away.

"In a cowardly act, he shot him in the back," Adams said.

McLendon fired several shots at the Bradley TrueValue Hardware store before heading out of town for Geneva, 12 miles away.

"We were just business as normal, and all of a sudden there were bullets flying and glass was everywhere," owner David Bradley told the Dothan Eagle newspaper. "We realized what it was and grabbed our guns, but then he was gone."

No one was hurt in the hardware store shooting. "There's a lot of people who had close calls," Adams said. One of those was Greg McCullough, who was pumping fuel at the gas station when the gunman roared into the parking lot and slammed on his brakes.

"I first thought it was somebody playing," McCullough told the AP. Then he saw the rifle.

McLendon opened fire, killing Smith when she stepped outside and wounding McCullough with bullet fragments that struck his truck and the pump. At one point the rifle appeared to jam, and then McLendon fired more shots before driving off.

"She was a really good person. She was getting ready to go to work," said Smith's friend Debra Hill. She said Smith has a daughter who recently graduated from high school.

In Geneva, police said McLendon let loose with a volley at a Wal-Mart, but it wasn't immediately clear whether anyone had been injured in that attack.

Cops chased McLendon to the Reliable Metal Products factory in Geneva, where he exchanged more shots with police before walking inside and shooting himself.

One of the officers who cornered McLendon at the factory was Josh Myers, whose wife and toddler daughter were shot dead on the porch in Samson. His infant daughter, he said, was in stable condition with a wound in her leg.

"We get trained to handle something like this ... but this was something that was never expected," Myers told a news conference.

Myers said he was devastated to find out that his family was among McLendon's victims.

"I cried so much yesterday I don't have a tear left in me," he said. "I never in my life will be able to understand it."

Myers appealed for help and asked people to pray for him and his surviving daughter.

"I don't know how to handle this situation," he said.

ABC News' Emily Friedman contributed to this report


A Basic Timeline of Michael McLendon's Massacre

By Steve Huff -

Mar. 11 2009

Yesterday, in South Alabama, a 28-year-old man named Michael McLendon went full-blown psycho. He killed a number of his own family members, but it looks like Michael didn't really discriminate after a while - anyone was fair game.

When all was said and done, 11 people were dead by his hand - including the killer himself. The following is brief timeline of McLendon's spree:

* Around 4 p.m. - Michael McLendon kills his girlfriend, mother Lisa and Lisa McLendon's 4 dogs at the residence he shares with them. He sets the house on fire.

* 4 to 4:15 approximate - McLendon, driving his Mitsubishi Eclipse, travels east to the town of Samson, in Geneva County. He is extremely well-armed, weapons include an automatic rifle and a shotgun. Just outside Samson, McLendon shoots his grandmother, grandfather, aunt and uncle.

* McLendon also kills a man who lived in a mobile home on his grandparents' property

* 4 to 4:15 approx. - McLendon goes to his grandparents' neighbor across the street. He shoots and kills 31-year-old Andrea Myers, the wife of a local sheriff's deputy, and her toddler daughter. Another child is injured and taken to a Florida medical facility. [Andrea Myers's MySpace profile. One of her posted songs: Blue Oyster Cult, "Don't Fear the Reaper."]

* 4:15 to 4:30 approx. - McLendon has a confrontation with a State Trooper while traveling down Highway 52 into Samson proper. The Trooper suffers only minor injuries. Seven bullets hit the Trooper's vehicle.

* Same timespan - McLendon kills two people, apparently at random: woman a the Big-Little Store on Hwy. 52 and a man at the Samson Pipe Supply.

* 4:20 to 4:30 approx. - McLendon fires shots at random into a Wal-Mart on Hwy. 52. A local sheriff rams his vehicle. The sheriff is shot in the shoulder. He drives himself to the hospital.

* Around 4:30 - Michael McLendon is in the parking lot of Reliable Metal Products, where he once worked. He fires at least 30 rounds at law enforcement. McLendon enters the business, commits suicide.



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