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Thursday, July 10, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Gunman at Lockheed Martin had attended counseling

The Associated Press

MERIDIAN, Miss. — Doug Williams sat in a meeting Tuesday with managers at his Lockheed Martin 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, "Y'all 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 also was 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.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics President Dain Hancock said yesterday that Williams had supposedly made threatening remarks during a confrontation with a black employee in December 2001.

Hancock said Williams admitted he had a temper and underwent two weeks of "anger management," after which he returned to work and was monitored for nearly a year.

Hancock said that the 2001 confrontation was the only one listed in Williams' personnel file, but that a June 12 incident in which Williams wore a white covering over his head had been reported. He said another employee found the covering offensive. Co-workers have said the covering resembled hoods worn by Ku Klux Klansmen.

Williams chose to leave rather than remove the covering, Hancock said. In what Hancock called a mutual agreement, Williams did not return to work for about five or six days.

"Both incidents were taken seriously and handled promptly," Hancock said. "This company does not tolerate harassment."

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

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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