MANCHESTER, Conn. (CBS/WFSB) Twenty-four hours after police say Omar Thornton fatally shot eight people at a Manchester beer distribution warehouse before turning the gun on himself, the identities and stories of the victims have begun to emerge.
Union officials said Thornton, a warehouse driver, entered Hartford Distributors in Manchester, Conn. with a rifle and satchel filled with ammunition at about 7 a.m. Teamster official John Hollis told CBS affiliate WFSB the shooting occurred when the highest number of people would be in the building.
Official sources told the station that Thornton had come to the business facing disciplinary action in connection with a theft at the business. The owner of the company was preparing to let Thornton go when witnesses said "all hell broke loose" Tuesday morning.
Those who knew and loved the killed workers began sharing stories of their lives with WFSB.
Among those killed in the gunfire was Brian Cirigliano, the shop steward for the union. Workers said Cirigliano would have been the one to escort Thornton into the building for Tuesday's disciplinary hearing.
Also killed was truck driver Victor James, who had 30 years on the job. James' mother, Gloria Wilson, told WFSB she recently moved in with her son, and that he kissed her goodbye before leaving for work on Tuesday morning.
"He went and that was it, I'll never see him again," Wilson said.
Wilson said her son would have turned 60 this month and that he loved his job and was planning on retiring soon. She said he had two grown daughters and four grandchildren.
Also killed was Craig Pepin, of South Windsor. A family friend of Pepin's said he recently celebrated his wedding anniversary. The friend said Pepin was a soccer coach and was very popular. According to the friend, Pepin loved his job and never had any work-related problems.
Forty-nine-year-old Edwin Kennson Jr., of South Windsor, was delivering ketchup and mustard in Manchester when he was killed, family members said. Kennison was a referee in his spare time and the father of a teen daughter. He began working at Hartford Distributors in 2006.
Doug Scrutun, 56, lived in both Manchester and New Hampshire. His brother-in-law said he was a year away from retirement. Family members described Scrutun as a gentle, kind man. They said Scutun's wife moved to New Hampshire and that he had been staying with a friend in Connecticut and visiting his wife on weekends until his retirement.
William Ackerman lived in Manchester until a few years ago. Friends described Ackerman as a family man who took care of his mother and was a huge fan of the University of Connecticut athletics.
Francis Fazio Jr., 57, of Bristol, and Louis Felder Jr., 50, of Stamford were also killed.
Members of the victims' families were taken to the Manchester High School auditorium late Tuesday morning. Dozens of people gathered at the high school Tuesday afternoon to mourn and console one another. Among the mourners was retired employee and union member Allen Dicenza.
"I knew them all," Dicenza said. "We were like a family. It was a great work environment."