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.
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."