Omar Thornton, pictured with girlfriend, Kristi Hannah told his mom that he "killed all the racists" before killing himself yesterday (August 3).
A seething Connecticut warehouse driver who griped that he was the victim of workplace racism -- and who faced the ax for stealing beer -- calmly shot eight terrified co-workers to death yesterday before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
"I killed the five racists that was there bothering me," Omar Thornton, 34, boasted to his stunned mother by phone after the massacre at Hartford Distributors in Manchester at around 7:30 a.m.
"I love you very much, I want you to take care of yourself. I want you to stop smoking," he then told his mom, Lillie.
CARNAGE: Police cars fill the streets yesterday as workers flee Hartford Distributors, where the rampager used a .223 rifle like this one.
Thornton, who apparently stashed weapons and ammo in his lunchbox to smuggle them into the beer warehouse, spent the next few minutes arguing with his mother over whether to kill himself.
The killer, described by relatives as a "mama's boy" teetotaler, then hurriedly told her, "The cops [are] knocking on the door, and I'm not going to jail -- I gotta go," said Thornton's uncle, Will Holliday. He then killed himself.
Officials said Thornton launched the bloodbath minutes after "being given an option to quit or be fired" because he had been caught on video swiping beer.
He calmly told his bosses that he would quit -- "then he went on this rampage," said survivor Steve Hollander, a co-owner who was grazed by bullets.
"He was cool and calm. He didn't yell. He was cold as ice," Hollander said. "He didn't protest when we were meeting with him to show him the video of him stealing. He didn't contest it. He didn't complain. He didn't argue. He didn't admit or deny anything. He just agreed to resign. And then he just unexplainably pulled out his gun and started blasting.
"He shot at me twice and hit me a couple times," Hollander said. "By just the grace of God, I don't know how he missed [killing] me."
Thornton fatally shot the two people standing next to him point-blank in the head, Hollander said. One of them was Bryan Cirigliano, 51, the Teamsters shop steward who had repped Thornton at the 7 a.m. disciplinary hearing.
Hollander said he then "saw [Thornton] running outside of my office window, shooting his gun, carrying his lunchbox, which must have had his weapons in it."
The rampage lasted "simply a matter of minutes," said Manchester Police Chief Marc Montminy. "It was all the way from the front of the walkway to the back of the building. [Victims] were scattered throughout."
One employee screamed to alert co-workers that Thornton appeared to be systematically hunting down victims as he walked through the warehouse office armed with his .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a red satchel stuffed with bullets.