*The girlfriend of the warehouse driver who went on a shooting spree at a Connecticut beer distributor says racial harassment at work drove him to retaliate – and she has proof.
Kristi Hannah, 26, told The Associated Press he showed her photos he took with his cell phone of a picture drawn on a bathroom wall. It was a stick figure with a noose around his neck and the N-word.
She says, another time, he was in a bathroom and held up his phone. She says she could hear a company official, in conversation with someone else and apparently unaware Thornton was in a stall. She says the officials said they were going to “get rid of” Thornton and used a racial epithet.
Thornton killed eight people and wounded two, then turned the gun on himself in a rampage Tuesday at Hartford Distributors where at least some of the victims — executives and managers — may have been targeted, police said Wednesday.
His relatives also say Thornton, 34, finally cracked after suffering racial harassment in the company where he said he was singled out for being black in a predominantly white work force.
After shooting his co-workers, Thornton hid as police moved in. He 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. “He said, ‘The cops are going to come in so I am going to take care of myself.'”
Authorities said they found him dead.
Brett Hollander, whose family owns the distributor, denied any racial bias. And a union official said Thornton had not filed a complaint of racism with the union or any government agency.
“I can assure you there has never been any racial discrimination at our company,” Hollander said.