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Ala. gunman left list of those who wronged him

 The interior of the home of suspected gunman Michael McLendon's mother Lisa McLendon is seen early Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in Kinston, Ala.  The bl...
 Josh Myers, left, a deputy with the Geneva County Sheriff's department whose wife and daughter were killed in a Tuesday shooting in Samson, is consol...
 Family members of shooting victim James Alfred White, 55, son-in-law Earl Johnson, back left, his wife KayJohnson, right, and their son, no name give...

South Alabama Shootings

The interior of the home of suspected gunman Michael McLendon's mother Lisa McLendon is seen early Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in Kinston, Ala. The bl...

South Alabama Shootings

Josh Myers, left, a deputy with the Geneva County Sheriff's department whose wife and daughter were killed in a Tuesday shooting in Samson, is consol...

South Alabama Shooting

Family members of shooting victim James Alfred White, 55, son-in-law Earl Johnson, back left, his wife KayJohnson, right, and their son, no name give...

The gunman who killed 10 people and committed suicide in a rampage across the Alabama countryside had struggled to keep a job and left behind a list of employers and co-workers he believed had wronged him, authorities said Wednesday.
The list, found in his home, included a metals plant that had forced Michael McLendon to resign years ago. Also on the list was a sausage factory where he suddenly quit last week and a poultry plant that suspended his mother, District Attorney Gary McAliley said.
McAliley was quoted as telling The Dothan Eagle that McLendon also listed people at the sausage factory who had complained about McLendon for such things as not wearing earplugs and slicing the meat too thin.
"We found a list of people he worked with, people who had done him wrong," the district attorney said outside the charred house where the rampage began.
But investigators offered no immediate explanation for why he targeted relatives and other people who weren't on the list as he fired more than 200 rounds in a roughly 20-mile trail of carnage across two counties near the Florida state line Tuesday.
In the span of about an hour, McLendon, 28, set the home he shared with his mother on fire, killed five relatives and five bystanders and committed suicide in a standoff at the metals plant.
"The community's just in disbelief, just how this could happen in our small town," said state Sen. Harri Anne Smith, from the nearby town of Slocomb. "This was 20-something miles of terror."
It was not clear how long McLendon had been planning the attack, but authorities said he armed himself with four guns _ two assault rifles with high-capacity magazines taped together, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol _ and may have planned a bigger massacre than he had time to carry out.
"I'm convinced he went over there to kill more people. He was heavily armed," said Sheriff Dave Sutton.
The shooting was the deadliest attack by a single gunman in Alabama history, and plunged Sansom, the community of about 2,000 where McLendon grew up and where most of his victims lived, into mourning.
The town is so close-knit that the mayor coached McLendon in T-ball when he was a boy, and the dead included the wife and daughter of one of the sheriff's deputies who was sent to chase McLendon.
As word about the killings spread, graduates of the local high school scrambled to find their yearbooks, and many realized they knew the gunman.
"Something had to snap," said Jerry Hysmith, 35, who worked with McLendon at the metals plant in 2001.
Among the dead were some of the very people who might have helped explain what set off McLendon _ his grandmother, his mother, an uncle and two cousins.
This much is clear: McLendon had a hard time keeping a job over the years, and had been forced to resign from his position at a local Reliable Metals plant in 2003, authorities said. Investigators would not say why.
That same year, he tried to join the police academy, but lasted only a week before flunking out, authorities said. His next known job came in 2007, at a nearby sausage plant operated by Kelley Foods.
The company said he quit last week but was considered a team leader and was well-liked by employees. However, the district attorney said co-workers reported him for not doing things right. McAliley also said McLendon had a list of eight lawyers, a clue that he might have been planning legal action.
The rampage started around 3:30 p.m. at McLendon's mother's home. Authorities said he put her on an L-shaped couch, piled stuff on top of her and set her ablaze. Before he left, he also shot four dogs. Investigators did not immediately say whether the woman was dead or alive when the fire was set.
Inside the charred home, a gun safe was left with its door ajar, and military gear, including a camouflage jacket and green military-style backpack, was found about the home. In another room, remnants of his baseball career, including a 1995 All-Star trophy, were prominently displayed.
After setting the home ablaze, McLendon drove a dozen miles and gunned down three other relatives and two others on a porch and shot his grandmother at a house next door, sending panicked bystanders fleeing and ducking behind cars. His uncle's wife, Phyllis White, sought refuge in the house of neighbor Archie Mock.
"She was just saying, `I think my family is dead. I think my family is dead,'" Mock said.
McLendon went inside the house and chased his aunt out before driving off, said Tom Knowles, who was at his son's house nearby and saw the shooting. Knowles said McLendon returned moments later in his car as if looking for the aunt, then turned and looked at Knowles.
"He had cold eyes. There was nothing. I hollered at him. I said, 'Look, boy, I ain't done nothing to you,'" Knowles said. McLendon then left for good.
Then, McLendon shot three more people at random as he drove toward the metals plant, firing from his car. One woman was hit as she walked out of a gas station. Another person was hit while driving. One man was shot while walking.
At the metals plant, McLendon got out of his car and fired at police with his assault rifle, wounding Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, authorities said. Then he walked inside and killed himself.
The victims included the wife and 18-month-old daughter of sheriff's Deputy Josh Myers, who was sent to chase McLendon. Myers did not know at the time that his wife and daughter were among the dead. His 4-month-old daughter was wounded in the attack.
"I cried so much yesterday, I don't have a tear left in me," said Myers, who did not know McLendon. "I feel like I should be able to walk in the house and my wife would be there, my baby girl climbing on me."
___
Associated Press Writers Jay Reeves in Samson, Garry Mitchell in Mobile and Bob Johnson and Kate Brumback in Montgomery contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS spelling of Samson.)


Updated : 2021-07-29 19:17 GMT+08:00