MANCHESTER, Conn. – A warehouse driver who was asked to resign his job at a beer distributor went on a shooting rampage Tuesday morning that left nine people dead, including himself, and others wounded, company and state officials said.
The number of dead was confirmed by a Connecticut government official who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Authorities were notifying victims' relatives before confirming the number of deaths, state police Lt. J. Paul Vance said.
The driver had worked at the distributor for a couple of years and been called in for a disciplinary hearing, said John Hollis of the Connecticut Teamsters, who was with company officials at the scene of the shooting.
Hollis would not say why the driver was being disciplined.
About 50 to 70 people were in the warehouse during a shift change when the gunman opened fire, said Brett Hollander, the director of marketing at Hartford Distributors. Adding to the chaos was a fire at the warehouse, about 10 miles east of Hartford, that has been put out.
Hollander, whose family owns the distributor, said he did not know the driver well.
At least one person died at Hartford Hospital, spokeswoman Michaela Donnelly said. Another victim taken there was in critical condition, and one was in fair condition, she said.
Among the victims was Hollander's cousin, a vice president at the company who was shot in the arm and the face. Hollander said he thought his cousin would be OK. It was not clear if he was among the victims taken to Hartford Hospital.
Police officers from numerous agencies and police and fire vehicles surrounded the warehouse, on a tree-lined road in an industrial park just west of a shopping mall. A SWAT team with a police dog was walking around the property a couple of hours after the 7 a.m. shooting.
Families of workers gathered at the town high school to wait for information and comfort each other.
In a statement, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell offered condolences to the victims' families and co-workers.
"We are all left asking the same questions: How could someone do this? Why did they do this?" she said.
Associated Press writers Susan Haigh and Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn.; John Christoffersen in New Haven, Conn.; and Michelle R. Smith in Providence, R.I., contributed to this report.