Counseling came just before plant gunfire

Employees say Doug Williams left tolerance meeting, came back with guns blazing.




MERIDIAN, MISS. Doug Williams sat in a meeting with managers at his factory job, listening to them explain the importance of being honest and responsible in the workplace. Also on the agenda: getting along with co-workers, regardless of their sex or race.

But at some point during the meeting, Williams had heard enough.

He walked out of the room telling co-workers, "Yall can handle this."

Minutes later, he returned with a shotgun and a rifle. He sprayed the room with shotgun blasts, killing two people, and then continued the rampage on the factory floor, leaving three more co-workers dead before taking his own life.

"He said, I told you about (expletive) with me," said co-worker Brenda Dubose, who was in the meeting.

Williams, a 48-year-old white man, had undergone anger counseling at least once in the past couple of years, frustrated because he thought black people had a leg up in society, co-workers said.

They said Williams was also angry that he had been passed over for promotions at the Lockheed Martin aircraft parts plant where he had worked for 19 years. Co-workers said he kept "score" on whoever he thought was offending him.

Fellow employees also described him as a "hothead" who had used racial epithets and made threats against blacks.

As recently as three weeks ago, some employees complained that Williams arrived at work wearing a white covering over his head that resembled a hood, Sheriff Billy Sollie said.

Some employees found the covering offensive because it resembled a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

Hubert Threatt, a union shop steward who had worked with Williams for 15 years, said other employees had expressed concerns to managers about Williams over the years.

Threatt said company counselors came to the plant two years ago to work with Williams.

Threatt said Williams was generally quiet after the counseling but once told him: "One of these days, they're going to (expletive) me off and I'm going to come here and shoot some people."

Sollie said investigators were seeking Williams' personnel records and would not comment on any problems Williams may have had at work.

Threatt was in the main factory building when he say Williams with a rifle strapped to his back and the shotgun in his hands.

He said he pleaded with Williams not to shoot people.