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Gunman, 8 Others Dead In Conn. Warehouse Rampage02:21
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Workers comfort each other after evacuating the Hartford Distributors building during the shootings. (AP)
Workers comfort each other after evacuating the Hartford Distributors building during the shootings. (AP)

Connecticut police are investigating a workplace shooting in a Hartford suburb Tuesday that left nine 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, Conn.

Police say Thornton was escorted from the property after a disciplinary hearing when he pulled out a handgun and started shooting. Calls immediately began pouring into 911. An hour later, police say they found Thornton's body among the dead.

Manchester Police Lt. Joe San Antonio says it appears the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"The police did not discharge their weapons at any time during the response," San Antonio said.

Once news reports filtered out into the community, family and friends rushed to the site.

Employee Mark Quatropani has a son who also is working at the warehouse this summer. Quatropani says his son had an encounter with Thornton.

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

Quatropani says he was shocked to hear the name of the alleged shooter.

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

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-TV she heard about the shooting on the news.

"I just started praying," she said. "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. Family member Steve Hollander is among those shot, but he’s expected to recover.

This story was reported by WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil in Hartford.

This program aired on August 4, 2010.

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