Workplace violence expert says shooting probably form of revenge
By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 9, 2003
It has happened in a small real estate office and in multi-national corporations, schools and universities, even in an FBI office once and on Tuesday it happened here.
There is no common fuse that sets off violent episodes like what happened at Lockheed Martin on Tuesday, according to Dr. Tom Capozzoli, professor of organizational leadership and supervision at the School of Technology at Purdue University.
There are, however, common traits typically shared by the shooters and Doug Williams apparently fit that profile in many ways.
Capozzoli, 64, has researched workplace violence for 10 years. For 30 years prior to that he worked in industry in the areas of labor and management relations. He conducts workshops on workplace violence and has authored two books that examine killing sprees: "Managing Violence in the Workplace," and "Kids Killing Kids: Managing School and Gang Violence."
He said in more than 40 percent of workplace violence acts, the killer commits suicide and that in most of the events the killer is enacting some type of revenge. He said he has never seen a case that was totally racially motivated.
He said Williams probably was unhappy for some time. From what he has learned of the Lockheed Martin incident, he said the shooting did not appear to be random.
He added that there may have been other mitigating circumstances besides work that played a part in Williams' act, such as stress, family problems, drug or alcohol problems or psychological problems. But he emphasized that the individual action was a reaction to something for which he thought he was getting revenge.
Capozzoli uses his research in workshops to train managers and other employees to recognize the warning signs of someone who may be on the edge.