NORTH LAWRENCE A North Lawrence native was among those working at a Fed-Ex warehouse in Kennesaw, Ga., Tuesday morning when a disgruntled employee shot six co-workers.
Thomas G. Normile, 53, of Marietta, Ga., a 1979 graduate of St. Lawrence Central School, Brasher Falls, had been at work for just over two hours when a gunman came into the warehouse where he worked.
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 Fed-Ex. It didnt seem real.
According to Associated Press reports, the gunman, Geddy Kramer, 19, of Acworth, Ga., made his way into the facility after shooting a security guard outside the building. He later was found dead inside the building as the result of 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 was able to get in touch with them because his cell phone was locked inside his vehicle.
By the time he was able to get to his phone nearly two hours later, Mr. Normile said he had six voice mails and more text messages than his phone able to 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.
Mrs. Normile said she heard about the shooting after receiving a call from her sons ex-wife, Caroline, who had also called his sister, Kathy Gardner of Helena.
After he was able to get his phone, Mr. Normile said, he called his parents.
He was pretty shook up, Mrs. Normile said. He was right near the people who got shot. He could hardly talk.
Mrs. Normile said the incident was startling for her as well.
Todays been a rough day, Mr. Normile said Wednesday.
His 14-year-old son, Zachary, did not go to school on Wednesday. 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. He said he had nightmares that the gunman was after him, Mr. Normile said. We need to get him somebody to talk to, and I think Im going to keep on going to counseling.
Mr. Normile was shown in a photograph that appeared in national media following Tuesdays shooting hugging his 21-year-old daughter, Brittany Normile, as his ex-wife looks on.
Mr. Normile said he was planning to return to work at the warehouse on Thursday.
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.