Shooting rampage had
similarities to many others
By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 13, 2003
Tom Capozzoli, a professor at the School of Technology at Purdue University, has studied workplace violence for 10 years and written books on killings in the workplace and schools.
He answered the following questions for The Meridian Star after tracking reports last week about the Lockheed Martin shootings.
The Meridian Star: From what you have learned through news reports, have you been surprised about anything in regard to the shootings at Lockheed Martin?
Tom Capozzoli: No. There weren't any surprises at all. I hate to say it, but it looks like a typical workplace violence episode. They had warnings and they obviously didn't heed the warnings. Basically after you go through and interview people on what he said and the fact he was on anti-depressants, there were a lot of signs that weren't looked at. I wish I could say this was unique. If you took all the episodes I have looked at over the years, his was not what I would call atypical.
The Star: How much of a factor does medication play in similar workplace violence episodes you've studied?
Capozzoli: I've never been totally convinced that it might have some effect.
A lot of these people in some cases have had treatment or were in treatment. I wish I could tell you whether there is a connection or not, but I can't. It could be this guy was on medicine and he quit taking it. Drugs interact in different ways. I'm not saying that's the way this happened you never know. It needs to be looked into.
The Star: How does the episode here fit other patterns of violence on the job you have seen?
Capozzoli: He fits the typical age, 30 to 50 he was 48. He obviously was a disgruntled employee. He had a girlfriend but was divorced. He thought other people had control of his life. He thought things were unfair. He had given off signals that he could do something. He came loaded for bear, which most of them do. He was heavily armed. It appears he had some problems with management. It appears he went in there for revenge.
The Star: Do violent attacks like this happen more in the South than other regions of the United States?
Capozzoli: No. I remember back when the kids in Jonesboro, Ark., pulled the fire alarm at their school and shot students as they came out of the building, people started saying it has to do with all the guns in the South. It's happened everywhere. There were 18 workplace violence episodes within a year after 9/11 and they happened everywhere, including Florida, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, California and Wisconsin.
The Star: What warning signs typically go unheeded, but, in retrospect, should have been a red flag for managers?
Capozzoli: Threats. Threats go on all the time that are not reported or go unheeded. Sometimes an employee's appearance may change. They may come in to work late, they may be prone to more accidents, start erratic behavior, or have confrontations with other employees they may normally get along with and that should be looked at.