Plant Shootings Revisited

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The topic of the story was July 8, 2003, and what exactly sparked one of the darkest days in Meridian's history. On that day, 48-year-old Doug Williams, a Lockheed Martin employee, shot and killed five co-workers before taking his own life.

Of the five victims, four were black. According to the story, this coupled with reports from some of Williams' co-workers about his alleged racist behavior has led many to believe that the shooting was racially-motivated.

However, when it comes to whether race was the primary factor, Sheriff Billy Sollie says his investigation created some doubts.

"As evidenced by statements we obtained that day and in the following weeks of the investigation, where he (Williams) came up to a black female where the initial shooting started, walked up to her and she was sobbing and he advised her, ' Don't worry, I'm not going to shoot you.' He did not hate that individual who was part of the black race," said Sollie.

Lockheed, which is the nation's largest defense contractor, has said that its management had no way of knowing that Williams would go on a shooting spree. Not only that, but in the past the company has also denied a connection between the shootings and Williams' presumed views on race.

The Rev. Jinnelle Miller lost her husband of 36 years in the shooting spree. Although she says she has mixed emotions about whether racism was the primary motive, she says she does believe that getting to the root cause is important.

"It's always best when the truth comes forth, because once the truth comes out, it's going to do a lot of releasing for people," Miller said. "And then you can kind of lay it down and progress and go forward, as I'm trying to do."


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