Racial tension was a factor in the mass shooting Tuesday in Connecticut, says the Associated Press. The killer, Omar Thornton, sat calmly in a meeting with a union representative and his supervisors as they showed a video of him stealing beer from the distributor where he worked. He then quietly signed a letter of resignation and was headed for the door when he pulled out a gun and started firing – “cold as ice,” as one survivor described it.
Thornton killed eight people, injured two, then turned the gun on himself in a rampage Tuesday at Hartford Distributors that union and company officials said they would not have anticipated from someone with no history of complaints or disciplinary problems. Yet relatives say Thornton, 34, finally cracked after suffering racial harassment in a company where he said he was singled out for being black in a predominantly white work force. “Everybody’s got a breaking point,” said Joanne Hannah, the mother of Thornton’s longtime girlfriend. After shooting his co-workers, Thornton called his mother, who tried for 10 minutes to talk him out of killing himself, his uncle Will Holliday told reporters. “He said, ‘I killed the five racists that was there that was bothering me,'” Holliday said.