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Tuesday March 28th 2017



Did racial harassment trigger Connecticut workplace shooting?

Some are alleging that the gunman in Tuesday’s deadly workplace shooting had complained to friends and relatives about being racially harassed on the job.  Eight people were shot to death by Omar Thornton at the Manchester, Connecticut based beer and wine wholesaler Hartford Distributors Inc.

According to the Hartford Courant, Thornton, who is black, told his girlfriend that “a racial epithet had been written and a noose drawn on a bathroom wall and that Thornton had taken photos of them with his cellphone.”  She also claims that Thornton complained about the harassment to his superiors but that they ignored his complaints.

Thornton allegedly called his mother during the killing spree and, shortly before committing suicide, told her, “I killed the five racists that were bothering me.”

Chris Roos, secretary-treasurer of the Teamsters union branch in South Windsor, said that Thornton never filed a complaint about racial harassment with the union.

The shooting followed a meeting between Thornton and his superiors where Thornton was accused of stealing beer from the company.  Company officials said that Thornton opted to resign instead of being fired.  After signing a resignation letter, Thornton pulled two handguns out of his bag and started shooting at his coworkers.


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Did racial harassment trigger Connecticut workplace shooting?
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4 Responses to “Did racial harassment trigger Connecticut workplace shooting?”

  1. I don’t think the Omar Thornton Shooting Spree is a common reaction to typical workplace disputes nor does it reflect a spontaneous response to racial harassment but rather a bitter retaliatory act of vengeance.. While I would not say the motivation emanated from allegations of racial harassment per se, it is quite obvious that Mr. Thornton’s actions were not spontaneous. Whether the alleged charges of theft were the predicate basis for the employer’s actions is all we have as a business decision. My questions of substantiation goes to both sides. Since the union claims that Mr. Thornton had not reported any charges of racial harassment, I wonder if they were asked to represent him on the alleged theft charges during the arbitration process. If one wants to believe that in a union setting allegations of misconduct escalate from the charge to termination they are sadly mistaken. Was it racial harassment?

  2. We may never know the whole truth since Mr. Thornton is deceased. However, we surely should not discount the possibilities that what his ex girlfriend stated he said may be true. In the past when there has been violence in the workplace we rarely hear what may have precipitated the violence. My concern is that the present economic conditions are ripe for not acts such as this to occur. History has shown when jobs are scarce, money is tight, there is an increase in discrimination, harassment and hostile work environs. With many people experiencing depression-era financial crises, any type of harassment, hostility occurring over a long period of time can easily be expected to push some over the edge.


  3. The racism thing may have been beneficial to the management to push this guy out…which may be why they did nothing. If racism is something that bothered the guy then they may have let it go on. All though it is difficult to prove, psychological harassment tactics are emotional assaults. All of us react differently to different things so each case will be different. The victim, however, seldom can find any justice when these tactics are applied for these tactics fly under radar and it is pointless to file harassment because the tactics skirt harassment laws. Veiled threats are common and mental conditioning which causes the victim to rebel, maybe even steal. The tactics make the victim seem to be the one with the problem when in actuality he is covertly being manipulated and knows this but can’t speak up. Most quit or get fired, because they have been manipulated into negativity. But…some simply go off and the result at the end is murder or suicide or murder/suicide every time. Psychologicalharassment.com for more information.
    The same pattern over and over seems to be emerging and these companies may be getting off Scott-Free. The investigations need to go beyond the shooter. Ever heard the term “Kill them with Kindness”? Many managers have.

  4. […] the shooting earlier this month at Hartford Distributors Inc, where employee Omar Thornton killed eight coworkers before turning the gun on himself, we asked several workplace violence experts about the possible […]

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