The Lockheed Martin shooting was an act of
mass murder that occurred on July 8, 2003 at the Lockheed Martin plant
in Meridian, Mississippi, United States. The gunman, 48-year-old Douglas
Williams, an assembly line worker at the plant shot 14 of his co-workers
with a shotgun, killing six of them, before committing suicide. Eight of
his victims, and five of those killed, were black.
It was the deadliest workplace shooting in the United
States since December 2000, when Michael McDermott killed seven
co-workers at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
On the day of the shooting Williams had to attend a
mandatory ethics and diversity class together with 13 others, among them
several black employees. According to some colleagues Williams arrived
at the plant in a very agitated state and made threats to kill black
workers, though others who had talked to him prior to the shooting
stated that he “gave no indications that anything was wrong." At the
meeting Williams stayed only for a few minutes. After having a normal
conversation with his colleague Al Collier, who described it as a
"friendly little talk", he suddenly stormed out of the room with the
words “Y’all can handle this.” Telling his supervisor, Jeff
McWilliams, that he would take the matters into his own hands Williams
went to retrieve several guns from his pick-up truck. Armed with a 12
gauge Winchester shotgun, a Ruger Mini-14 on his back, bandoliers with
ammunition draped across his chest and a bandana on his head he returned
to the annex, where the meeting was held.
At approximately 9:30 a.m. Williams entered the room,
yelling "I told y’all to stop (expletive) with me! Didn’t I tell y’all
not to (expletive) with me?", and began shooting. He first killed
Mickey Fitzgerald, a white employee, who tried to calm him down, with a
shot in the face, before turning his attention towards a group of four
black workers cowering on the floor. Remarking "There's four right
there." Williams killed Sam Cockrell, whom he believed to have made
complaints about him to the management, wounded Al Collier, who was shot
in the back and right hand, as well as Charles Scott, and fatally
wounded DeLois Bailey, when she was trying to run out of the room. Steve
Cobb, the plant manager, as well as Brad Bynum, Chuck McReynolds and
Brenda Dubose, whose head and hand were grazed by bullet fragments, were
also wounded by ricochet. Williams then went out of the room, but
returned after a short while and, searching and calling for Jack Johns,
the production manager, he continued shooting.
Williams eventually left the annex and headed for the
main factory, searching for other employees who had reported him to the
management for making racist threats. There he was apprehended by his
colleague Pete Threatt, who tried to take away his gun, but Williams
pushed him out of the way, lowered the shotgun with the words "Get out
of my way or I’ll kill you, too." and moved on. While Threatt tried
to make the others aware of the gunman, screaming for people to take
cover, Williams walked through the plant and shot five other people,
most of them at point blank range. He killed Charles J. Miller, Thomas
Willis and Lynette McCall at their work stations and wounded Henry Odom
and Randy Wright, before his girlfriend and co-worker, Shirley J. Price,
began pleading with him to stop shooting. Williams then committed
suicide in front of her by shooting himself in the torso, thus ending
his rampage which had lasted approximately ten minutes.
Three more weapons were later found by police in his
car, a .22 Magnum Derringer, a .45-caliber Ruger P90 pistol and a
.22-caliber rifle with a scope.
Six people were killed in the shooting.
DeLois Bailey, 53, succumbed to her wounds on July 15
Sam Cockrell, 46, of Meridian, Mississippi
Micky Fitzgerald, 45, of Little Rock, Mississippi
Lynette McCall, 47, of Cuba, Alabama
Charles J. Miller, 58, of Meridian, Mississippi
Thomas Willis, 57, of Lisman, Alabama
The injured were: Brad Bynum, 29, Steve Cobb, 46, Al
Collier, 49, Brenda Dubose, 55, Chuck McReynolds, 62, Henry Odom, 57,
Charles Scott, 65 and Randy Wright, 55.
As five of the six people killed by Williams,
divorced father of two, were black and co-workers described him as
making racist remarks, it was initially believed that the murder might
have been racially motivated, though police stated that the shooting was
more likely random, as most of the injured were white.
One of Williams cousins said he was not a racist and
even had black friends, though Williams's cousin also described him as
being depressed. He also said that Doug Williams had expressed concern
"about something to do with a meeting at work." It was said that
Williams had threatened others for no reason and was angry at everybody.
He had run-ins with management and fellow workers and felt mistreated.
Worker kills 5, self at Mississippi
Columbia Daily Tribune
July 8, 2003
MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - An employee
opened fire at a Lockheed Martin plant today, killing five people before
killing himself, authorities said. Eight other people were taken to
hospitals. Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie confirmed the deaths
and injuries."He had a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle and he appeared
to open fire at random on employees," Sollie said.The shooting broke out
around 9:30 a.m.
Six dead in shooting in Lockheed
July 8, 2003
Those listed as deceased are Mickey
Fitzgerald of Little Rock, Mississippi; Sam Cockrell (ph) of Meridian;
Lynnette McCall (ph) of Cuba (ph), Alabama; Thomas Willis of Lisbon (ph),
Alabama; Charlie Miller of Meridian, and the shooter, Doug Williams,
also of Meridian.
The shooter entered the building with what is
believed to have been two weapons, one being a 12 gauge shotgun, the
other being a mini 14 .223 caliber semiautomatic weapon. At this time,
there are no indications that he discharged the .223 rifle. All wounds
appear to have been suffered utilizing the .12 gauge shotgun.
We have been told that there were additional weapons
taken from the vehicle of the shooter at the scene. I believe that
consisted of a .22 caliber magnum Deringer, a P-91 .45 caliber Ruger (ph)
pistol, a .22 caliber rifle with a scope. There were also additional
large quantity of ammunition in the vehicle.
Miss. man opens fire at work,
The Wichita Eagle
July 9, 2003
MERIDIAN, Miss. -A factory worker
known as a racist "hothead" who talked about killing people opened fire
with a shotgun at a Lockheed Martin plant Tuesday, leaving five fellow
employees dead before committing suicide. Dozens of employees at the
aircraft parts plant frantically ran for cover screaming "Get out! Get
out!" after Doug Williams, dressed in a black T-shirt and camouflage
pants, started firing.
Six Dead in Miss. Plant Shooting
MERIDIAN, Miss. - A factory worker known as a racist
"hothead" who talked about killing people opened fire with a shotgun and
a rifle at a Lockheed Martin plant Tuesday, leaving five fellow
employees dead before committing suicide.
Dozens of employees at the aircraft parts plant
frantically ran for cover after assembly worker Doug Williams, dressed
in a black T-shirt and camouflage pants, started firing during a morning
break. As many as eight people were wounded in the nation's deadliest
workplace shooting in 2 1/2 years.
"At first I thought it was something falling on the
ground. Then I walked to the aisle and saw him aiming his gun. I took
off. Everybody took off," said Booker Steverson, who was helping
assemble airplane parts when he heard the first shot.
Exactly what set Williams off was not immediately
clear, but co-workers said he had had run-ins with management and
several fellow employees.
"Mr. Williams was mad at the world. This man had an
issue with everybody," said co-worker Hubert Threat. "It's not just
about race. It was just the excuse he was looking for."
Williams was white, and four of his victims were
black; the fifth was white.
Nevertheless, Sheriff Billy Sollie said it appeared
Williams fired at random with the shotgun and the semiautomatic rifle. "There
was no indication it involved race or gender as far as his targets were
concerned," Sollie said.
Several co-workers said they were not surprised when
Williams was identified as the killer.
"When I first heard about it, he was the first thing
that came to my mind," said Jim Payton, who is retired from the plant
but had worked with Williams for about a year.
Steverson said Williams was known as a racist who did
not like blacks. And Payton had said Williams had talked about wanting
to kill people. "I'm capable of doing it," Payton quoted Williams as
One of those killed was Lanette McCall, a black woman
who had worked at the plant 15 years. Her husband, Bobby McCall, said
she expected Williams to harm someone someday.
"She said he made a threat against black people," a
distraught McCall said. He added: "Obviously, he was a sick guy. I wish
somebody had given him some help before he done destroyed my life and my
Russell Wright, who works at the plant but was not
there Tuesday, described Williams as "a hothead."
The sheriff said he had no information on whether the
gunman had been in trouble with his bosses. He said Williams had
attended a meeting Tuesday morning with other employees, some of whom
were later shot.
"We are not sure if those killed were friend or foe,"
the sheriff said.
Austin Clark, who called in sick Tuesday, said
Williams made accusations when he was angry. "He's had problems with
white people, too," said Clark, who is white. "I have no idea what set
Law officers made vehicles go through checkpoints
outside the plant at midday as about two dozen people waited to learn
the fate of their loved ones.
Some of the wounded were hospitalized in critical
The shooting stunned residents of Meridian, a city of
40,000 near the Alabama line whose economy is largely dependent on the
military. It is home to the Lockheed plant, a naval air station and an
Air National Guard training center.
"We know one another, almost everyone knows someone
who works in the building, or has a relative who works in the building,"
said Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors.
The Rev. Kathy Spells pleaded for racial unity the
city mourns its losses. "It's time to get together and pray and get this
racist thing over with," Spells said.
It was the nation's deadliest workplace shooting
since a software tester in Wakefield, Mass., killed seven people the day
after Christmas in 2000.
The Meridian plant employs about 150 people and
builds parts for C-130J Hercules transport planes and vertical
stabilizers for F-22 Raptor fighter jets.
"All of us at Lockheed Martin are shocked and
incredibly saddened that this incident occurred," spokeswoman Meaghan
Mariman said at the company's Bethesda, Md., headquarters.
Lockheed Martin is the biggest defense contractor in
the United States. The corporation had sales of $24 billion in 2001. It
employs about 125,000 people.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said: "Mississippi's family
grieves today for this senseless tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are
with the families and friends of those lost."
Meridian shooter 'mad at the world'
officials look for motive in Lockheed attack
Columbia Daily Tribune
July 9, 2003
MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - Police were
trying to determine why an assembly-line worker described as "mad at the
world" left a business meeting at an aircraft parts plant only to return
and gun down 14 colleagues, killing five. Doug Williams shot himself
yesterday after his lethal rampage at the Lockheed Martin plant. Co-workers
said the 48-year-old worker had had run-ins with management and several
Factory killer got counseling
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 10, 2003
Doug Williams sat in a meeting with
managers at his factory job Tuesday, listening to them explain the
importance of being honest and responsible. Also on the agenda: getting
along with co-workers, regardless of sex or race. Finally, Williams had
heard enough. He walked out of the room, telling co-workers, "Y'all can
handle this."Minutes later, he returned with a shotgun and a rifle. He
sprayed the room with shotgun blasts, killing two people.
Killer defended by girlfriend,
shooting: Woman calls factory worker a victim, human
Long Beach Press-Telegram
July 11, 2003
The girlfriend of the factory worker
who killed five fellow employees this week interrupted a memorial
service Thursday by standing up in the church and saying the gunman also
should be viewed as a victim.
Mayor John Robert Smith was speaking during the
community service when Shirley Price stood and spoke: "Excuse me. Don't
criticize this man. He was human too ... don't exclude him. He was a
victim, too. ... He was a kind and loving human being."
Price broke into tears and left the church. Her
boyfriend, Doug Williams, committed suicide after shooting 14 co-workers,
killing five, at the Lockheed Martin aircraft parts plant Tuesday.
Lockheed worker: Gunman made many
death threats, Company said Williams showed 'unacceptable behavior'
July 12, 2003
MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - A Lockheed
Martin employee says the man who killed five co-workers and himself this
week repeatedly threatened to kill him and other blacks at the plant
nearly two years ago. Four blacks were among those killed by Doug
Williams in Tuesday's shooting at the aircraft-parts plant, although
most of the nine injured were white, as was Williams. Several co-workers
have described him as a racist. Aaron Hopson, of Meridian, told The