Victims' Families Draw Strength from Each Other

The most violent workplace shooting in Lauderdale County's history was remembered Wednesday, along with the victims' families who are still trying to recover from the pain and loss.

Six people were murdered at Lockheed July 8, 2003, and eight others were injured before shooter Doug Williams took his own life.

For many, the wounds are still fresh. Family members of the victims gathered at Union Station. One by one, family and friends of the six people who died--Sam Cockrell, DeLois Bailey, Mickey Fitzgerald, Charlie Miller, Lanette McCall, and Thomas Willis--lit candles for their loved ones.

It was part of a reconciliation luncheon sponsored by Mission Meridian. Six years after the event organizers say it's still important to remember.

"So our yearly gathering is to keep people talking," said Charlotte Scott of Mission Meridian. "Keep people in the forefront so people can talk to each other. There might be something going on in the workplace, in the home to where people talk about it and maybe we can minister to the person that's hurting and prevent something from happening like this again."

"These same families, despite what they endured, saw an opportunity to use tragedy to bring people together and to bring our community together," said Mayor Cheri Barry.

"It just blessed my heart because my son still is known for what he did," said Annie Cockrell, mother of Sam Cockrell.

"It does get hard, especially when this week comes up," said Tammy Fitzgerald, widow of Mickey Fitzgerald.

"Sometimes people don't want to hear it and we feel bad, like we're forcing it on people. But since we've got permission, we can do it this week," said the Rev. Jinnell Fox Miller, widow of Rev. Charles Miller. "This will give us time to exhale and relax a little bit and get rid of some of this burned up energy and we can go on for another while."

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