NORTH LAWRENCE A North Lawrence native was among those working at a FedEx warehouse in Kennesaw, Ga., Tuesday morning when a disgruntled employee shot and injured six co-workers before turning the gun on himself.
Thomas G. Normile, 53, of Marietta, Ga., a 1979 graduate of St. Lawrence Central School, Brasher Falls, had been at work for two hours when a gunman walked into the warehouse.
I was on a tugger, and I was coming down the ramp when he walked right in front of me, Mr. Normile said. I saw the rifle and the bullets. He looked right at me, but thank God he kept walking. I couldnt believe it. We have great security here at FedEx. It didnt seem real.
According to the Associated Press, the gunman, Geddy Kramer, 19, of Acworth, Ga., made his way into the facility after shooting a security guard outside. The assailant later was found dead inside the building from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
I knew of him and saw him every day, Mr. Normile said. I didnt know him personally, but I dont know why anybody would do something like this.
Mr. Normile said he knew each of the shooting victims.
We all worked together, he said. It was just a normal Tuesday. We started work at 3:30 a.m. and were loading all the trucks to get them ready for deliveries. Then this happened.
After realizing that the gunman was not a law enforcement officer, Mr. Normile said, he and the other employees ran to the back of the building, opened an overhead door and jumped out.
He said family members and friends had heard through television and Internet reports about what happened before he could contact them because his cellphone was locked in his vehicle.
By the time he got to his phone two hours later, Mr. Normile said, he had six voice mails and more text messages than his phone could hold.
Every time I cleared them out, more messages popped up, he said. There were a lot of family and friends concerned about me, and I really appreciate that.
Among those concerned were his parents, Joyce V. and Robert F. Normile, North Lawrence.
He was pretty shook up, Mrs. Normile said. He was right near the people who got shot. He could hardly talk.
Todays been a rough day, Mr. Normile said. His 14-year-old son, Zachary, did not go to school yesterday. Mr. Normile also has an 11-year-old son, Wessley, and two older children, Sean and Jessica, who both live in Florida.
My 14-year-old was pretty shook up, Mr. Normile said. He said he had nightmares that the gunman was after him. We need to get him somebody to talk to, and I think Im going to keep on going to counseling.
Mr. Normile appeared in a photograph disseminated by national media after Tuesdays shooting, hugging his 21-year-old daughter, Brittany, as his ex-wife looked on.
Mr. Normile said he planned to return to work today.
Its going to be tough, he said. Im going to keep replaying that in my head every time I go up and down the ramp.