Xerox Shooting Suspect Arrested
By BRUCE DUNFORD Associated Press Writer
HONOLULU (AP) - Hiro Uyesugi remembers his son losing his temper only once during 15 years at the Xerox Corp (NYSE:XRX -
news)., when he kicked an elevator door a few years ago and had to undergo anger management counseling.
But nothing in Byran Uyesugi's history hinted at the bloodshed that erupted at Xerox's offices on Tuesday, when police say he
walked into a second-floor meeting room and shot seven co-workers to death.
Uyesugi fled in a company van, but surrendered to police after a five-hour standoff. A search of his home found 11 handguns, five
rifles and two shotguns owned by the former Roosevelt High School rifle team member.
``I'm going to bring him another gun so he can shoot himself,'' an anguished Hiro Uyesugi snapped when questioned by
The nation's latest episode of workplace violence was the worst tragedy in the company's history and the worst mass murder in
Hawaii's history. It was a stunning blow in a state with just 24 murders last year and an enduring reputation as America's
``You would never think it would happen at your workplace, you hear it all around,'' said Andy De Leon, a Xerox employee. ``But
this is too close, way too close.''
Uyesugi, 40, was expected to be arraigned today. Because multiple deaths were involved, he will likely face a first-degree murder
charge, punishable by a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Hawaii has no death penalty.
Uyesugi, who fixed copiers at Xerox, was clad in a green Hawaii print shirt when he entered the building shortly after 8 a.m.
KITV-TV, citing unidentified sources, said Uyesugi was on his way to a meeting when he shot two men, missed a third, and then
shot five more.
``We all heard this banging noise, like a hammer hitting on a piece of metal,'' De Leon said. ``We didn't think anything of it then.
Then all of a sudden a boss called out and said, `Follow us' and we started running out.
``Someone asked what happened and he said somebody got shot upstairs.''
Uyesugi left the building and waved goodbye to another co-worker before driving off. Five victims were slain in a conference room
and two other bodies were found nearby. All had been shot with a 9 mm handgun at close range, authorities said. Police found
20 9 mm shell casings at the scene.
The victims were identified as Melvin Lee, 58; Ron Kawamae, 54; Ron Kataoka,50; Peter Mark, 46; Ford Kanehira, 41; John
Sakamoto, 36; and Jason Balatico, 33.
Uyesugi and the company van were spotted by a jogger at a nature park overlooking downtown. After hours of negotiations with
authorities, he finally surrendered.
``Like all of us at Xerox, you undoubtedly have the question, `Why? How could this have happened?'' Xerox Hawaii general
manager Glenn Sexton said. ``Perhaps we'll never know.''
Uyesugi lived on Easy Street with his father and brother, raising fish in back yard tanks and collecting guns. Neighbors described
him as ``a good boy'' and ``a real nice kid.''
However, he was convicted of drunken driving in 1985. He was named in a criminal property damage complaint in 1993 when he
threatened a supervisor and damaged the elevator door, KITV-TV reported.
Police would not comment on a motive. But Mayor Jermey Harris said it appeared ``as though it was a disgruntled employee who
``It's a shock for all of us. We have such a safe community with almost no violent crime,'' Harris said. ``To have someone snap
like this and murder seven people is just absolutely appalling.''
Back to Menu
Thursday August 5 5:28 PM ET
Man Charged in Ala. Shootings
By JOHN ZENOR Associated Press Writer
PELHAM, Ala. (AP) - A man allegedly shot two co-workers to death at their office Thursday morning and then killed a third person
at a company where he used to work, a burst of workplace violence just one week after the Atlanta office massacre.
Alan Eugene Miller, 34, was arrested shortly after the shootings, when police spotted him on nearby Interstate 65 and forced him
to pull over. He briefly scuffled with officers, and a gun was found in his car.
Miller was charged with three counts of capital murder. The motive was unclear.
Pelham, a suburb of about 10,000 people in the wooded hills south of Birmingham, is a mix of upscale subdivisions, commercial
districts and rural farmland.
Pelham Police Chief Allan Wade said Miller worked at Ferguson Enterprises, a heating and air conditioning company where the
first two victims were shot to death. They were identified as Lee Holbrooks, 32, and Christopher Yancy, 28.
Police arrived at Ferguson at 7:04 a.m. Officers were still securing the crime scene 13 minutes later when dispatchers got a
second emergency call - this time about a shooting at Post Airgas Inc., a company that sells helium, oxygen and other gases
several miles from Ferguson Enterprises.
The third victim, Terry Jarvis, 39, was found at Post Airgas.
Wade said the gunman at Post Airgas matched the description of the suspect who fled Ferguson Enterprises and whose car was
seen entering I-65.
``Everybody around here is just regular working people,'' said Cathy McKay, owner of a carpet store across the street from Post
Airgas. ``You feel safe coming out here at night. The shooting, she said, ``is just beyond my comprehension.''
Miller is from Billingsley, a rural town 50 miles south of Pelham, Wade said.
The shootings came one week after frustrated investor Mark O. Barton killed nine people and wounded 13 others at two
brokerage firms in Atlanta in one of the worst office massacres in United States history.
Fred Herder, a day trader who had worked with Barton and was wounded in his rampage, was released from the hospital
Wednesday and found the Pelham shootings a troubling repeat of the Atlanta carnage.
``It's really frightening that all of a sudden that someone is copying this,'' he said. ``I can't believe some idiot has started to copy it.''
Back to Menu
Some Recent Workplace Shootings
By The Associated Press
July 31, 1999
- June 11, 1999: Joseph Brooks Jr., 27, fatally shoots his former psychiatrist and a woman at the doctor's Southfield, Mich., clinic.
Four others are injured before Brooks kills himself.
- April 15, 1999: Sergei Babarin, 71, opens fire in the Mormon Family History Library in Salt Lake City, killing two people and
wounding four others before police shoot him to death.
- March 18, 1999: Walter V. Shell, 71, turns himself in after allegedly shooting to death his attorney and one of his clients in
Johnson City, Tenn. Shell blamed the lawyer for a $100,000 loss in a dispute over his ex-wife's will.
- Jan. 14, 1999: Di-Kieu Duy, 24, allegedly opens fire in a Salt Lake City office building, killing one person and wounding another. -
March 6, 1998: Matthew Beck, 35, a Connecticut Lottery Corp. accountant involved in a pay dispute, fatally shoots the lottery
president and three of his supervisors before killing himself. One of the victims also was stabbed.
- Dec. 18, 1997: Arturo Reyes Torres, 43, walks into a maintenance yard in Orange, Calif., with an AK-47 and kills his former boss
and three others. Torres, who blamed the supervisor for getting him fired, is later shot by police.
- Oct. 7, 1997: Charles Lee White, 42, opens fire with a rifle at the San Antonio paging company where his ex-girlfriend worked,
killing her and another woman before shooting himself to death.
- Sept. 15, 1997: Arthur Hastings Wise, 43, allegedly opens fire at an Aiken, S.C., parts plant, killing four and wounding three
others. Wise had been fired two months before from his job at the plant,
- June 5, 1997: Daniel S. Marsden, a plastics factory employee in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., fatally shoots two co-workers and
wounds four others after an argument at work, then kills himself less than two hours later.
- April 3, 1995: James Simpson, 28, a former employee at a refinery inspection station in Corpus Christi, Texas, shoots and kills
the owner of the company, his wife and three workers before shooting himself to death.
- March 14, 1994: Tuan Nguyen, 29, recently fired from a Santa Fe Springs, Calif., electronics factory, uses a still-valid security
code to gain access and shoot three people to death before killing himself.
- Dec. 2, 1993: Alan Winterbourne, 33, an unemployed computer engineer, opens fire in a state unemployment office in Oxnard,
Calif., killing three state workers and injuring four others. Winterbourne flees, killing a police officer before police fatally shoot him.
- July 1, 1993: Gian Luigi Ferri opens fire with two assault weapons and a pistol in the San Francisco law offices of Pettit & Martin,
killing eight people before taking his own life.
- Oct. 16, 1991: George Hennard crashes his pickup into a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, then opens fire and kills 24 people,
- June 18, 1990: James Edward Pough goes on a shooting spree in a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office in Florida, killing
10 people and wounding four others before killing himself.
- Sept. 14, 1989: Joseph T. Wesbecker, a 47-year-old pressman on disability for mental illness, kills eight people and wounds 12
others at a printing plant in Louisville, Ky., before taking his own life.
- Aug. 20, 1986: Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who authorities say was about to be fired, opens fire at a post office in Edmond,
Okla., killing 14 people, then fatally shooting himself.
Back to Menu
April 7, 1999 (AFP)
Canada Shoot-Out Was Premeditated, Say Police
OTTAWA, April 7 (AFP) - An angry former bus driver who killed four people before turning the gun on himself had planned the
event ahead of time, police said Wednesday.
The gunman who went on a shooting spree in Ottawa's main bus terminal Tuesday was identified as Pierre Lebrun, 40. Lebrun
carried a list of potential victims to target, and left a letter at home explaining why he went on the rampage as well as his goal of
committing suicide, police spokesman Ian Davidson said here.
Lebrun suffered mental problems, Davidson said, adding that his actions were nevertheless "planned and deliberate."
In the letter Lebrun wrote about being "upset with some interactions he had in the work environment," Davidson said. Lebrun
showed up at his former workplace at the Ottawa main bus station Tuesday afternoon with a rifle and opened fire on his former
workmates, police said.
The 300 building workers were quickly evacuated when an employee pulled the fire alarm after hearing the first shots. Lebrun
spent the entire afternoon shut up in the building, surrounded by police. Lebrun killed four people and injured two before finally
shooting himself, police said. The number of victims could have been much higher if Lebrun's
rifle had not jammed, station mechanic Sylvain Couture said.
Lebrun was fired in 1997 for striking a co-worker, but then hired again with union support. Lebrun was reassigned to a "very
non-stressful job" before resigning in March, union leader Paul MacDonnel said.
Back to Menu
1 dead, 1 wounded in Seaside shooting
Monday, June 9, 1997
SEASIDE (AP) -- A Department of Defense employee opened fire on workers at a government facility in Seaside today, killing one
and wounding another, the FBI said.
John Filler, 46, allegedly walked into the Monterey Presidio Logistical Support Center and began firing a .22 Ruger
semi-automatic rifle, said FBI spokesman George Grotz. Presidio police arrested Filler, of Marina, who worked as a computer
specialist at the facility. The motive wasn't known.
``It could be a disgruntled employee. At this point we don't know,'' Grotz said.
The wounded man was identified as James P. Gaughran, 65, who suffered a bullet would to the shoulder. He was being treated
at Community Hospital in Monterey. A nursing supervisor said she could not confirm Gaughran's condition. The dead victim's
identity was unavailable.
The shooting site, some 50 miles south of San Jose, is near the former Fort Ord, one of the bases closed by the Defense
Department in the early '90s.
Back to Menu
Suspect described self as honest, hard-working and good-natured
AP.state (06-10) 14:36:11
MARINA, Calif. (AP) -- The Defense Department employee accused of killing one worker and wounding another when he opened
fire at a government building described himself as ``quiet'' and ``good-natured.''
John Robert Filler III, arraigned on charges of murder and attempted murder following the Monday shooting, gave that portrayal of
himself on his rental application. His landlady and neighbors described Filler as a private and ``high-stressed'' but friendly man
who kept his one-bedroom apartment in remarkable order.
Filler, 46, is being held without bail in connection with the attack at the Monterey Presidio Logistical Support Center at the former
Fort Ord Army base, about 90 miles south of San Francisco. If convicted, the computer specialist could be sentenced to death or
life in prison. He told police after the shooting that ``I was the one. I did it,'' and described his actions as a ``premeditated
ambush,'' according to an FBI affidavit. Investigators, however, did not know the motive for the attack.
Sandi McGavin, property manager of the Marina apartment complex where Filler lived, said she ``wouldn't be surprised'' after
learning her tenant had been arrested in connection with the attack at the Presidio of Monterey Logistical Support Center.
Filler is ``way high-stressed. He doesn't connect with people,'' she told the Monterey Herald.
Filler is accused of killing Gerald David Lloyd, 49, a contract maintenance worker, and wounding 65-year-old James P. Gaughran,
a civilian employee at the Defense manpower data center, one of several agencies at the support center.
On his rental application, Filler -- who was in the Navy from 1969 to 1978 -- said he was a disabled combat veteran. In a precise
hand he also wrote: ``About myself: I'm a Christian, hard-working, government employee, honest, single, quiet, pleasing,
McGavin said she started to wonder about Filler when she went into his apartment last fall. Even the closets were in perfect order
-- garments were color coded and shirts hung a in the same direction, spaced exactly a finger-width apart.
In February, Filler apparently lost his truck and other possessions while gambling in Reno and asked her to wire him some
money, McGavin said. He was subdued after that, she said.
Thai policeman kills five colleagues, self
Wednesday, June 11, 1997
BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) -- A policeman went on a shooting spree in southern Thailand today, killing five colleagues and
wounding five more before committing suicide. Sergeant Chaiyaworn Hiranpakdee, 50, broke into the office of his boss, the
district chief investigator, and fired his pistol at him, a police spokesman said.
Sompong Thawichasri, district police chief at Lang Suan district in Chumpon province, 500 kms (300 miles) south of Bangkok,
told Reuters by telephone that the policeman then turned his gun on other officers at the station indiscriminately. He said
Chaiyaworn shot himself after colleagues and relatives negotiated with him unsuccessfully for about 20 minutes. Police said
Chaiyaworn had been depressed because he was being investigated for an alleged breach of discipline and his superior was
considering transferring him to an inactive position.
Back to Menu
2 dead, 1 wounded in workplace murder-suicide
Friday, June 13, 1997
SANTA FE SPRINGS -- A laid-off worker killed a woman, wounded his old boss then committed suicide today in another
workplace shooting just eight days after a shooting rampage in a nearby plastics factory.
The gunman pulled a .38-caliber weapon and began shooting during an argument about 10:50 a.m. at the Yaanimax Inc.-U.S.
Embroidery Co. plant, Whittier police spokesman Chuck Drylie said. The wounded woman died on arrival at Whittier Community
Hospital and the 55-year-old owner of the company was airlifted in critical condition to UCLA-Harbor General Hospital, Drylie said.
The gunman fled the building and shot himself to death with a bullet to the head a short distance from the embroidery company,
the spokesman said.
``He was recently laid off, about five to six weeks ago,'' Drylie said. ``It is unclear at this time how much of an argument had
occurred but a gun was in fact produced.''
The gunman was a partner of the wounded owner when they began the business about four years ago, Drylie said.
``A female was shot just inside the front door in the chest and the back of the head; the male victim had a gunshot wound to the
The industrial area shooting was about five miles from last week's Omni Plastics Inc. shooting that left two people dead and four
wounded before the gunman fled and committed suicide an hour later on a street corner.
``This is frustrating and tragic and we see no connection in this whatsoever,'' Drylie said.
Yaanimax employee George Dalou stood in shock outside the industrial park building after the latest incident of workplace
``This world is getting so out of hand man, it's getting scary,'' Dalou said. ``It could have been me, you know.''
In the earlier shooting, Daniel S. Marsden, 38, shot himself in the mouth. Police said Marsden, a quality assurance inspector from
Long Beach, began the rampage after arguing with at least two co-workers over alleged mocking of his sexual orientation.
Back to Menu
Fired California man returns to kill woman, self
07:10 PM ET 06/13/97 (Reuter)
LOS ANGELES (Reuter) - A fired employee returned to his former workplace with a gun Friday and killed a female worker and
severely wounded her brother before taking his own life,police said. Police Lt. David Carlisle said the gunman, an Asian in his
late 20s whom he did not name, had reportedly threatened to go back to the embroidery company from which he was fired
several weeks ago and kill someone.
The victims at the Yoonimax embroidery plant were a 40-year-old woman, who was shot in the chest, head and back and
pronounced dead at a local hospital, and her brother, 55, who was shot in the back. The man, believed to be the company's
owner, was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Neither victim was immediately identified.
After the shootings in the Los Angeles suburb of Whittier,the former employee drove to another Yoonimax facility, where he
brandished a gun at an employee before killing himself, Carlisle said. The rampage was the second in eight days in the
industrial suburb. Last week another gunmen killed two people and wounded four before committing suicide.
Back to Menu
Fort Bragg businessman gunned down by disgruntled employee
AP.state (07-31) 21:07:57
FORT BRAGG, Calif. (AP) -- A slain businessman's part-time employer has admitted to his boss' murder, authorities said.
Williams Vargas, 45, of Fort Bragg was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murdering prominent entrepreneur Jim Cummings
Sr., a major landowner on the Mendocino Coast, police said.
Cummings was gunned down early Wednesday by Vargas, who panicked after detonating a homemade bomb outside his boss'
home, said Lt. Tony Craver of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.
Vargas, disgruntled with his employer, had packed his car to move down to Santa Cruz, Craver said. But Vargas decided to first
set off what he called a ``firecracker'' outside Cummings' home on North Harbor Drive that morning, he added.
Plans went afoul when a nearby resident blocked Vargas' escape.
Cummings, 77, walked out with a gun to investigate the blast which shattered a house window, only to be shot by a panicked
Vargas, Craver said.
Emergency crews took him to the hospital, where he died, authorities said.
Vargas was living in Cummings' Noyo Harbor trailer park in exchange for part-time labor. But he blamed his employer for
problems he was having with other park residents, authorities said.
Vargas has admitted to the murder, Craver said.
Divers were searching Noyo Harbor on Wednesday for the murder weapon.
Cummings built his fortune by running restaurants, motels, a fish-processing plant and many other businesses. His holdings
also included the Depot Mall shopping center and the site of a recently-built McDonald's restaurant.
``Jim was quite an entrepreneur. He had quite a lot of land holdings, in some key areas, really, in the harbor and other areas
around,'' former City Manager Gary Milliman said.
Cummings also had a connection to an unusual and unrelated criminal case -- his son recently used a video camera to secretly
tape his mother's alleged drug use. Last month, authorities dropped charges after discovering that a substance seized from the
woman's apartment was not was not black-tar heroin, as was suspected.
Back to Menu
Business link turns deadly 2 tied to Stoughton printing firm slain; co-owner
By Francie Latour and Matthew Brelis, Globe Staff, 08/06/97
STOUGHTON - Two men tied to a financially troubled printing company were shot and killed inside their offices yesterday, and,
hours later, a co-owner of the company, who will be charged with murder today, turned himself in to police.
Within minutes yesterday afternoon, Jack L. Badler, 50, of Hopkinton, and Howard Librot, 60, of Sharon, were both shot in the
head at two locations a half mile apart, Stoughton police Chief Philip Dineen said last night.
Richard Shuman of Sharon was arrested later and charged with two counts of murder. He is to be arraigned today.
Badler, former chief executive officer of Foremost Printers, was shot just before 4 p.m. inside his office at Cabot Office Park on
Cabot Drive, near the intersection of Routes 24 and 139.
Police said they found multiple gunshot wounds in Badler and he was dead on the scene, according officials.
Ten minutes later, Librot, who had taken over some of Foremost's assets, was shot inside a second-floor office at the printing
shop's Stoughton headquarters at 154 Maple St., Norfolk District Attorney Jeffrey Locke said last night.
Information given by someone at the printing company prompted police to immediately search for the 48-year-old Shuman, one of
two owners of Foremost.
Just after 6 p.m., Shuman turned himself in to local police, accompanied by his parents and his attorney, Kevin Reddington.
Locke said Shuman will be charged today with two counts of murder.
Police said they believed Shuman used a semiautomatic weapon, but it was not immediately recovered.
Police also said that - after the shootings and before Shuman surrendered - managers at Foremost shut down the company's
operations in Rhode Island, fearing that Shuman might go there and continue his shooting spree.
At a press conference last night, Locke would only say that the killings were ``connected,'' through a number of different, but
A Foremost competitor, who had spoken to Shuman hours before the shooting rampage began, said his company was on the
verge of buying more assets from a Rhode Island division of Shuman's business, a business apparently in its death throes.
Star Printing president Mark Abrams said he and Shuman were nailing down an agreement for Star to purchase assets from
Foremost's color offset printing division in Rhode Island.
Abrams said Shuman and David C. Reed were the owners of Foremost. Badler, he said, was the former CEO and had continued
to do accounting work for the company.
``He was going to work for us, he had a job here,'' said Abrams, of Shuman, whom he described as a close friend. ``He was one
of the nicest people I ever met in my life. He is a teddy bear. I am shocked beyond belief. I just can't believe the whole thing. I feel
terrible about the whole thing.''
Shuman, the father of two daughters, gave no indication in his conversation with Abrams that he was upset. ``We just talked
business,'' Abrams said.
Word of Foremost's financial troubles had been swirling around the industry for some time.
Michael Burgraff, a courier, said he was owed $1,200 by the company and had not been paid in six months. He said he met with
Shuman on July 31 to ask for payment, but was rebuffed.
``He did not look well,'' Burgraff recalled, ``he looked unsteady and he told me it was not in his hands.''
Shuman was being held at the Stoughton police station overnight and will be arraigned today in Stoughton District Court on two
At the press conference outside the Stoughton police station, Locke said Shuman and Badler attended a meeting at the Cabot
Park office. At some point in the meeting, Locke said, everyone else left the room and only Shuman and Badler remained. It was
then, Locke said, that the shooting is believed to have taken place.
At Shuman's secluded Meadowlark Lane home in Sharon, police interviewed family members late into the evening last night.
Less than three miles away, on Orchard Hill Road in Sharon, mourners and visitors filed into the home where Librot had lived
with his wife, Hillary, at Macintosh Farms, a community of sprawling townhouses.
In Hopkinton, a police guard stood outside the large, white house where Badler had lived on Old Farm Road, a popular area for
corporate executives. Badler's family declined to comment last night, but neighbors in the wooded area said that the couple has
one daughter, and that Badler had a passion for cars and motorcycles.
And on Pinecone Lane in Southborough, a couple who lived beside the Badlers for a decade said they had never known better
neighbors or a closer-knit family.
Bernard and Callie Krawski described Jack Badler as a man who golfed, fished, and had a penchant for top-of-the-line cars, but
mostly as someone who was ``just a generous neighbor.''
``It's unfortunate that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just a very nice experience to know them,'' Krawski said.
Ellen O'Brien of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Steven Gray and Jennifer McMenamin contributed to this report. This
story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 08/06/97. © Copyright 1997 Globe Newspaper Company.
Back to Menu
September 4, 1997: From the New York Times:
Postal Worker Shoots 2, Then Kills Himself
MIAMI BEACH -- A postal worker shot and critically injured his former wife and a friend on Tuesday as they were standing in line
inside a crowded post office, then went outside and shot and killed himself, the police and witnesses said.
One witness, Judith Rivas was standing next to the two women in a line of 15 to 20 people. One of them said, "Why aren't they
moving faster, this service is no good," Ms. Rivas said. "Then I saw him walk up to her and shoot her twice. Everybody hit the floor
or ran outside. I just froze, and then I ran out."
The police said that the postal worker, Jesus Antonio Tamayo, 64, who had worked for the post office for 21 years, was working
alone helping customers just after 1 p.m. When he saw his former wife, Manuela Acosta, 62, he went to his car and returned with
a gun. Then he shot Ms. Acosta and her roommate, Mirna Mendoza, 55. Both women were shot in the abdomen.
A police spokesman, Bobby Hernandez, said that Tamayo apparently went outside as soon as he saw the women come in.
"Then he came back in through the front doors and shot them," Hernandez said.
After firing one shot at each woman, Hernandez said, Tamayo "exited the post office, went to a tree, looked up in the air and shot
himself in the face."
Customers and other postal employees ran out of the post office screaming for help.
A woman who lives nearby, Amy Reed, was parking her truck at the time. "I took a step toward the post office and then I heard a
gunshot," Ms. Reed said. "I saw a lot of postal workers and people running away from the post office and so I ran too. That shot
was him killing himself."
Tamayo was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fire rescue personnel happened to be across the street at the time of the shooting and Ms. Acosta and Ms. Mendoza were taken
to the trauma center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where they underwent emergency surgery. Both were in critical but stable
"We have no idea what the motive was at this point," a spokesman for the Miami Beach police, Detective Bernie Ruder, said.
"We're still talking to witnesses.".
Ruder said it was unclear what kind of problem Tamayo had with Ms. Acosta, from whom he had been divorced for at least four
and a half years. Television news reports here showed a relative of Ms. Acosta saying that she had gone to confront Tamayo
about stealing her mail.
Back to Menu
The incongruous killer: Chilling
portrait of Barton emerges
By Alan Judd
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer
When Mark O. Barton walked into a Buckhead stock brokerage office Thursday afternoon, he wore the same genial countenance
he displayed even in his driver's license photos: a warm smile across a round face topped by a shock of dark curly hair - hardly
the look of a killer.
"He greeted people on the way in," Harvey Hautkin, a spokesman for All-Tech Investment Services, said later. And, Hautkin said,
as he began blasting away with two handguns, Barton told his victims, "I hope I'm not upsetting your trading day."
Such incongruity clouded the portrait that emerged late Thursday of the 44-year-old Barton, apparently one of Georgia's worst
mass murderers, a man who drove a green minivan.
"We have no information at all" on what set off the killing spree, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell said late Thursday, "except we're
certain Mr. Barton came to Piedmont Road and killed nine people."
Interviews, public records and police accounts indicated that until Thursday's rampage, Barton lived a mostly unremarkable life
with one glaring exception: Labor Day weekend 1993, when his first wife and her mother were hacked to death at a campground
near a lake in Alabama.
Immediately, Barton's former father-in-law accused him of the crime. That same accuser said Thursday the killings in Henry
County and Buckhead completed what Barton had started six years ago.
"If what I've heard is true, the man has destroyed nearly my whole family," said Bill Spivey of Lithia Springs, whose wife, Eloise,
then 59, and his 36-year-old daughter, Debra, were killed at Lake Weiss in northeast Alabama. "The man who it appears killed
my wife and daughter also killed my two grandchildren."
No charges were ever filed in the 1993 killings, but Alabama authorities said Thursday he had been under suspicion the entire
"He was the No. 1 suspect all the way through and still was," said Richard Igou, district attorney in Cedar Bluff, Ala., at the time of
the killings. The current district attorney, Mike O'Dell, said investigators had monitored Barton's whereabouts for almost six years.
"There was no precursors to think this might happen," O'Dell said. "It was a shock."
After the 1993 killings, a judge in Douglas County, where Barton lived at the time, ordered him to get a psychological evaluation
as part of a custody case involving his two young children.
The results "to this day make me shudder," said David McDade, the Douglas County district attorney, who has reviewed the case.
"They indicated to us that he was certainly capable" of committing the murders.
In a brief interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1994, Barton - who won custody of the children, Matthew and Michelle -
declined to comment.
His lawyer, Michael Hauptman, told WSB on Thursday that Barton recently won a $600,000 settlement from an insurance
company that had refused to pay the claim from his wife's life insurance policy.
Hauptman described Barton as "very, very quiet" and "very gentle," a man who "cared about his children, cared, quite frankly,
about his wife's murder and his mother-in-law."
Aside from his first wife's death, nothing in Barton's background seems to point toward the extreme violence that characterized
his final hours.
Barton was born in Sumter, S.C., in 1955. Answering the phone Thursday night in the house where Barton grew up, his
79-year-old mother, Gladys Barton, declined to comment.
"I'm not talking to reporters - none," she said. "I'm not giving any information."
Barton and his first wife moved back and forth from Georgia to Texas several times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according
to public records, and moved into her family's home in Lithia Springs in 1991.
In 1990, Barton formed a corporation in Georgia, Highlander Pride Inc., but records give no indication of what kind of business he
William Friend, the lawyer who helped him incorporate the company, could recall little about Barton but was shocked to learn a
former client had gone on a killing spree.
"My God - nine people?" Friend said.
Barton worked as a chemist, but a few years ago he joined the high-pressure, high-stakes world of day trading.
At All-Tech, the company where the Atlanta killing began Thursday, clients must maintain at least a $40,000 balance.
At least twice, Barton apparently lost the full value of his account at All-Tech, according to a trader there who requested anonymity.
"Mark would trade several thousand shares at a time," the trader said. But he added that Barton had been barred from further
trading by All-Tech until he could restore his account to the minimum value.
He said Barton had not been in the Piedmont Road office for at least a month.
Hautkin, the All-Tech spokesman at the company's headquarters in New Jersey, said Barton - who apparently also handled
investments for others - had not traded in three months.
On May 26, 1995, less than two years after his first wife's death, Barton married Leigh Ann Vandiver, then 23, in Clayton County.
Vandiver had divorced her first husband, David K. Lang, in October 1993, a month after Debra Barton's death, according to state
vital statistics records.
Spivey, Barton's former father-in-law, said Barton and Vandiver had carried on an affair before his daughter and wife were killed.
Records show that Barton and his second wife lived in Morrow in Clayton County until June, when they moved into the apartment
in Stockbridge. There, authorities said Thursday, Barton apparently killed her and his children before the rampage in Atlanta.
Staff writers Bo Emerson, Bill Montgomery and Bill Banks contributed to this article, which also contains material from The Associated Press.