| J.D. Johnson/The Daily
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie
addresses the public during a press conference in Meridian
Wednesday. Major Ward Calhoun stands behind him holding the
actual weapon Doug Williams, 48, used to kill several of his
coworkers and himself Tuesday.
Lockheed Martin gunman fired at close range
July 10, 2003
MERIDIAN -- Lockheed Martin plant gunman Doug Williams, 48, of
Meridian, reportedly fired with intent at his coworkers, killing
five and himself while wounding nine others before 9:43 a.m.
Tuesday, law enforcement said.
Williams leveled his .12 gauge shotgun on his victims while
raising it to spare other plant workers, Lauderdale County Sheriff
Billy Sollie said in reference to eyewitness accounts Wednesday.
"All are indicating that the discharging of the weapon was at
close range," Sollie said.
Lockheed Martin officials did not sufficiently address employee
complaints about the behavior of plant gunman Doug Williams, 48, of
Meridian, Sollie said.
Sollie said Williams did not cooperate with many coworkers "both
black and white."
A single bouquet of gerber daisies
lies outside the entrance to the Lockheed Martin plant in
Marion where Tuesday's shooting left six people dead including
the gunman. The shooting spree lasted around 10 minutes.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said Williams had been
monitored at work for more than a year.
"They (Lockheed Martin) expressed to us that they have been
monitoring Doug Williams for about a year," Sollie said at a press
About half of the Marion plant's 138 workers have been
interviewed, and Lauderdale County Sheriff Department has
collaborated with the FBI, Mississippi crime lab and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to collect evidence.
"Right now, we have not been able to determine his affiliation
with any hate group," Sollie said. "The ATF did search his
home...and are examining his computer hard drive."
It has been speculated that racial hostility motivated Williams,
a plant assembly line worker who had been with the company for 19
years, when he picked his victims. Of the 15 Lockheed Martin
employees shot, seven victims were black and eight white and were
either on the plant floor or at a business ethics and diversity
meeting, which Williams left shortly before the shooting rampage
Four black and two white employees, including Williams, were
fatally wounded, and it was reported that one white employee died
when he stood between a bullet and plant Manager Steve Cobb, who
sustained minor injuries and needed no hospitalization, Sollie
Cobb headed the mandatory meeting Williams attended.
"It's my understanding that he was not happy about going, but he
was told he needed to go," Sollie said.
This .12-guage Winchester shotgun
with an extended-tube pump was the only weapon that inflicted
injury Tuesday at the Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian,
according to Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie.
After reporting to the mandatory meeting, Williams walked out and
returned to the training room with a .12 gauge pump shotgun and a
semi-automatic rifle. He fired the shotgun at and struck nine of the
13 workers at the meeting, killing two, before stepping onto the
plant floor and shooting six assembly line workers. The shooting
spree lasted approximately 10 minutes.
Employees who died included Mickey Fitzgerald, 45, of Little
Rock, Miss.; Sam Cockrell, 46, of Meridian; Lanette McCall, 47, of
Cuba, Ala.; Thomas Willis, 57, of Lisman, Ala.; the Rev. Charlie
Miller, 58, of Meridian and Williams.
Charles Scott, 54, of Stonewall, and DeLois Bailey, 53, of
Bailey, were wounded and listed under critical condition.
Both weapons were found on Williams' body after authorities
secured the area, Sollie said. Lauderdale County officers presented
the rifle and blood-stained shotgun to the public Wednesday.
In addition to what he carried through the factory, which has no
internal cameras to Sollie's knowledge, Williams' silver Dodge
pick-up truck contained three unconcealed guns, including a
Derringer and a rifle with a scope.
Former Lockheed Martin employee Ed Kelly, 50, of Meridian, said
the event sets the state back.
"This sets us back because we're trying to straighten out things
about Mississippi, and it sets us back. Everybody hates it. Hate
crimes, whatever, people are dead," Kelly said.
There is no set time for the plant to reopen, Sollie said.
"Employees will be notified about when to return to work," he
Lauderdale County officers have not found previous criminal
"We have been told of no dismissal or rehiring," Sollie said.
Before tragedy struck Meridian Tuesday morning, the local United
Blood Services ran out of blood. After 10:30 a.m., the tide began to
Meridian's office usually receives about 220 units of blood
throughout July, Communications Director Bob Murray said, but since
about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Murray estimated that approximately 450
people donated blood.
"We had actually gone on an emergency appeal on Monday that we
were out of blood. We've had to take blood from Alabama and
Mississippi," Murray said. "One hundred ninety blood products have
been distributed so far to three hospitals."
Support was called in from Hattiesburg and Jackson to meet the
growing crowds of altruistic Meridian residents, who used the
facility and two buses.
Appointments are scheduled today and Friday. Despite the influx,
there is still a need, Murray said.
"It's still not enough to get us replenished," he said.