Nine Dead In Manchester Workplace Shooting

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The scene at Hartford Distributors
Photo:Hartford Courant photo by Patrick Raycraft
Nine Dead In Manchester Workplace Shooting
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Nine Dead In Manchester Workplace Shooting

Connecticut police are investigating a workplace shooting in a Hartford suburb that left 9 people dead. Police have identified the shooter as 34 year old Omar Thornton. Co-workers say Thornton, was a truck driver at Hartford Distributors--a beer and wine wholesaler in Manchester Connecticut

They say Thornton walked into work this morning around 7:30 with a semiautomatic rifle-and started shooting. Calls immediately began pouring into 9-1-1. An hour later, police say they found Thornton's body among the dead

Manchester Police Lieutenant Joe San Antonio says it appears the suspect died from a self inflicted gun shot wound

"The police did not discharge their weapons at any time during the response."

Once news reports filtered out into the community, family and friends rushed to the site. Employee Mark Quatropani has a son who was also working at the warehouse this summer. He described what his son saw:

"He actually said he saw the shooter walking up to the dock. and he just jumped the other way. I said, 'great. You see a gun you run the other way'."

As police continue to investigate they refuse to discuss a motive. But coworkers and union members familiar with Thornton say he was facing a disciplinary hearing. Quatropani says he was shocked to hear the name of the alleged shooter.

"He's one of the shyest, quietest, people around."

Among the dead, was 51 year old Brian Cirigliano, the president of the Teamsters Local 1035 that represents drivers at Hartford Distributors.

Others confirmed dead include Victor James. His 86 year old mother Gloria Wilson lived with him. Wilson told WFSB Television she heard about the shooting on the news. 

"I just started praying. Don't ever want anything to happen to him. He's such a good fella, everybody likes him. He has two nice daughters, my grandchildren."

Wilson says James also liked his job. He had been working at Hartford Distributors for 30 years. Later this month, James would have turned 60 years old.

The company where the shooting took place has long roots in the Hartford area. The beer and wine wholesaler has been in business for 66 years, owned by the Hollander family. The family is reeling from the tragedy that took place inside their business. Famiy member Steve Hollander is among those shot this morning but he’s expected to recover.

For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil.