Police Say Racism Did Not Motivate Killing of Eight

Shooter had been fired for stealing minutes before.

Posted: 05/13/2011 01:32 PM EDT
Filed Under racism

The Manchester, Connecticut, police have released a 543-page investigative report that concludes that when Omar Thornton, who worked as a driver at Hartford Distributors, shot and killed eight people, he had not been motivated by systematic racism at the firm.


Just prior to the shooting, Thornton, an African-American, had been fired for stealing beer and empty kegs from the distributor. A surveillance video shows him walking through the company’s lobby carrying a handgun and a lunch box.


Manchester police Chief Marc Montminy said that allegations that Thornton, 34, had photographic evidence of racial slurs against him on his cellphone were found to be untrue. The police interviewed the other minority workers at the firm and found that that they not only disagreed with Thornton’s stance but took a contrary position.


It has been noted that several months before the shooting, racist anti-Obama graffiti was found on a company bathroom stall. The management was alerted and the drawing removed. The police were unsure whether Thornton ever saw the image of President Barack Obama hanging from a noose.


In a 911 call Thornton made from the scene, after the killings, he said, “You probably want to know why I shot this place up. This place is a racist place. They treat me bad over here. They treat all the other Black employees bad over here too. So, I took it into my own hands and handled the problem. I wish I (could have) got more of the people."


Thornton killed himself after making the call.