SCRIPT: Lockheed Martin Shooting

We're about to take you inside what a group of terrified people witnessed. A gunman with a grudge. A massacre at a defense plant. Was it a worker who'd snapped and "gone postal," as the saying goes, or a one-man race war? It's a shocking "Primetime" investigation with a warning to viewers. You're about to hear some harsh language and see some graphic pictures. Here's ABC's Chief Investigative Correspondent, Brian Ross.

BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS

Within minutes of this phone call, six people inside a Lockheed Martin aircraft plant in Meridian, Mississippi would be dead.

911 CALLER

911, send somebody to Lockheed.

BRIAN ROSS

Many had feared this day was coming.

911 CALLER

We've got a shooting at Lockheed, in the industrial part, northeast. Please hurry. Hurry.

911 OPERATOR

Okay, ma'am, they're on the way.

BRIAN ROSS

A police videotape retraced the killer's steps through the plant. Horrified workers had begged to be saved.

911 OPERATOR

Tell me where the man is that's doing it.

911 CALLER

We don't know. He was on the production floor. We understand. That is the last thing I know.

BRIAN ROSS

As he moved along the plant floor, where workers build US military jet aircraft, the killer seemed to know who he was looking for.

BOBBY MCCALL, HUSBAND OF VICTIM

He had a list, and he called his list the "good niggers and the bad niggers."

911 OPERATOR

What was he wearing?

911 CALLER

I don't know.

911 OPERATOR

Do you know who it is?

911 CALLER

Yes. His name is Doug Williams.

BRIAN ROSS

The name was no surprise to many at the plant. Doug Williams, a long-time Lockheed employee, who for more than a year made no secret that he was preparing for a race war.

INVESTIGATOR

Did Mr. Williams ever say to you that he was going to kill, and excuse me, I've got to say it this way, some Black mother (censored)?

EMPLOYEE

Yes.

INVESTIGATOR

And did you report that to anybody at management?

EMPLOYEE

Yes, I did.

BRIAN ROSS

At the age of 48, Williams was outraged when Black workers at the plant complained about his racial slurs or got better-paying jobs. Williams' computer log-in was "white power."

AARON HOPSON, LOCKHEED MARTIN EMPLOYEE

He said, "You know, one of these days I'm gonna come in here and kill a bunch of niggers, and then I'm gonna kill myself."

BRIAN ROSS

What happened that day at the Lockheed plant was soon forgotten by the rest of the country. Quickly described by the Lockheed company as just another tragic, senseless workplace shooting.

But an investigation by "Primetime Live" along with documents the Lockheed company tried to keep secret reveals there is much more to it than that. It is a story of open racism, ugly slurs, violent threats and a plant owned by the country's largest defense contractor.

BILL BLAIR, LAWYER

I can't imagine a hate crime that had more forewarning than this one did.

BRIAN ROSS

Bill Blair is a lawyer for the family of one of Williams' victims now suing Lockheed.

BILL BLAIR

Lockheed is responsible for maintaining a workplace where people aren't threatened with death and called nigger.

BRIAN ROSS

The final straw for Williams was in this room, where he had been called to a diversity and ethics training class and was seated next to certain Black workers. He stormed out. Some white employees say a supervisor then warned them to beware of Williams.

LOCKHEED MARTIN EMPLOYEE

He said, "If Doug leaves at lunch," he said, "I want you to go home." And I said, I said, "Why?" He says, "Well, I'm afraid of what he might do."

BRIAN ROSS

But Williams didn't wait for lunch. He only had to go as far as his pickup truck in the parking lot to get his guns, which were already loaded and ready. Williams then headed straight back to the classroom.

CHARLES SCOTT, LOCKHEED MARTIN EMPLOYEE

He came in the door and he was saying something to the effect, "I got you all right here."

BRIAN ROSS

Charles Scott and Al Collier were at the same table with Williams and saw him return fully armed.

AL COLLIER, LOCKHEED MARTIN EMPLOYEE

He had a shotgun in his hand, rifle on his back, bullets draped down both sides of him.

BRIAN ROSS

The first shot was fired at Nikki Fitzgerald, who in an act of courage, stood up to calm Williams and was the first to be killed.

AL COLLIER

Just point blank shot him in the head.

BRIAN ROSS

Collier, Scott and the others then hit the floor.

AL COLLIER

He was coming around. He looked and he said, he said, that fool right there. He said, that fool right there, like he was shooting some kind of animal or something.

BRIAN ROSS

Four Black workers, including Lockheed veteran Sam Cockrell, who Williams believed had turned him in for wearing what looked like a Ku Klux Klan hood at the plant.

CHARLES SCOTT

Something kind of like this, you know.

BRIAN ROSS

Scott says Williams used the booty of a protective suit as a white hood, what Williams called a joke.

CHARLES SCOTT

I'm from the South, and everybody that I know, knows what that signify.

BRIAN ROSS

It wasn't funny to you?

CHARLES SCOTT

It wasn't funny.

BRIAN ROSS

Williams wore his white hood most of that day until a manager told him to take it off or go home. He went home, apparently furious at Cockrell.

BILL BLAIR

It's obvious that Mr. Williams hated Blacks who wouldn't, quote, "stay in their place." And he perceived that Sam was one of those Blacks.

911 CALLER

Please hurry. We've got people, I think they're dead.

BRIAN ROSS

Back in the classroom, after killing Sam Cockrell, Williams moved to the other Black workers cowering on the floor, including Charles Scott.

BRIAN ROSS

He came, and he aimed at you?

CHARLES SCOTT

I was laying on the floor. He came over to me and shot me while I was on the floor.

BRIAN ROSS

The next victim DeLois Bailey, a long-time Lockheed employee, active in trying to get more Blacks hired at the plant, which was 70 percent White. She was shot by Williams as she tried to run from the room.

AL COLLIER

He didn't just turn and shoot her. He poked the gun into her stomach, and he pulled the trigger. That's how he did that.

BRIAN ROSS

Al Collier took a shotgun blast in the back but still tried to do something to stop Williams.

AL COLLIER

He was about as close as from me to you.

BRIAN ROSS

He blew off ...

AL COLLIER

He blew off both of my fingers.

BRIAN ROSS

Williams was far from through.

911 CALLER

He's still in the building as far as we know right now.

911 OPERATOR

How many people been shot?

EYEWITNESS

I don't know.

BRIAN ROSS

He skipped the management offices and headed for the production floor. Lynette McCall, a grandmother and 20-year veteran of Lockheed, was next. Williams knew she too had complained about him. And her husband Bobby says she knew this day would come. She had even increased her life insurance policy.

BOBBY MCCALL

It got to the point where she started preparing me for her death. Telling me what she wanted me to do, and "If this man kills me, don't forget that we got an account here, and we got an account there."

BRIAN ROSS

And it's clear Lockheed knew it had a problem with Williams. The Lockheed documents we obtained which were left out of the sheriff's public investigation report until we asked about them show Lynette McCall was one of several employees who had detailed Williams' death threats. "You're on my list too," he had told her. All described to a Lockheed executive from regional headquarters a year and a half before the shooting.

BOBBY MCCALL

And she'd say, "They just don't care, they just don't care."

BRIAN ROSS

Williams found Lynette McCall at her work station.

BOBBY MCCALL

She's standing there, and he taunted her with this gun. He's not just shooting her like he did other people. He got to talk to her. He got to call her different names.

BRIAN ROSS

What did he say? Do you know?

BOBBY MCCALL

I was told that he, "Didn't I tell y'all I was going to kill you, bitch?" and things like that. And I was told that she was begging him not to do it. And, and then finally he just did it. You know, but he wanted her to suffer before he did it. And that's something that's very difficult for me to live with. Very difficult.

BRIAN ROSS

Finally, there were two more people, two more Black workers who would be killed. C.J. Charlie Miller, a part-time pastor at the Baptist church. And Thomas Willis, another of the employees who stood up to Williams.

BILL BLAIR

He wouldn't stay in his place to suit some racist's ranting and raving. He just wouldn't do it.

BRIAN ROSS

According to the Lockheed documents, Willis also detailed Williams' slurs and threats and demanded Lockheed enforce its zero tolerance policy, which calls for dismissal for serious violations. But Williams kept his job, required only to attend two after-work sessions for anger management. The union steward, Pete Threat, says he tried to use Williams' own twisted reasoning to get him to drop his plan.

PETE THREAT, UNION STEWARD

They're going to put you in the pen with all those men, and you'll wind up being the sex slave of a big Black man by the name of Jerome. And he made the statement, "No, they won't ever catch me because if I kill a bunch of these folks, I'm going to kill myself."

BRIAN ROSS

And that's just what he did. After killing the last of the six victims, Doug Williams then killed himself on the plant floor of a company that says it does not tolerate racial hostility.

CHARLES SCOTT

He didn't just shoot, randomly shoot. He went around and shot us how he wanted to shoot us, where he wanted to shoot us.

BRIAN ROSS

In movies and books and throughout the country's history, Mississippi has long been associated with some of the worst of racial intolerance and violence.

ACTOR

The defendant is not guilty.

BRIAN ROSS

From the failed efforts of Atticus Finch to protect the innocent Tom in "To Kill a Mockingbird" to the ugliness of the 1960s portrayed in "Mississippi Burning."

BILL BLAIR

Mississippi has changed a lot, but this is the county that the Klan ruled. The Klan was just an awful force here, and people grew up with that legacy.

BRIAN ROSS

Now in this new century, that legacy has been carried on. Not at the end of some dark dirt road but at this Lockheed Martin aircraft plant in Meridian, Mississippi.

911 CALLER

Could you send someone to Lockheed?

911 OPERATOR

Okay, ma'am, they're on the way.

BRIAN ROSS

The Lockheed murders are being described by civil rights leaders as the worst hate crime against African-Americans since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

BRIAN ROSS

Yet from the Mississippi county sheriff to the Lockheed company to Washington, DC, our "Primetime" investigation found a lot of people prepared to overlook or to object to any racial implication in the murders.

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, MS

I myself cannot say it was racially motivated.

BRIAN ROSS

You cannot?

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

I myself cannot.

BRIAN ROSS

Within hours of the murders, Sheriff Billy Sollie with top Lockheed executives at his side described it as simply another tragic workplace shooting, eager to dispel any idea it was connected to race.

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

My thoughts on racially motivated shooting is you hate a race.

BRIAN ROSS

The sheriff says William was not a racist because he killed Mickey Fitzgerald, the man who tried to stop him, and several Whites received minor injuries. And because Williams spared one Black woman in the classroom where the murders began.

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

She's part of the Black race.

BRIAN ROSS

So unless he had killed all Blacks you wouldn't think it would be racially motivated?

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

That's my interpretation, yes, sir.

BRIAN ROSS

As for the Lockheed company documents detailing Williams' racial slurs and death threats, the sheriff at first denied knowing anything about them.

BRIAN ROSS

Did Black employees complain to Lockheed to the best of your knowledge?

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

I've not seen any documents from Lockheed Martin that Black employees had complained about a racially hostile environment.

BRIAN ROSS

When pressed, the sheriff then remembered seeing the documents but could not recall what was in them.

BRIAN ROSS

And in those notes were there not comments from Black employees that Williams had threatened to kill?

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

Again, sir, I can't remember.

BRIAN ROSS

You can't remember that?

SHERIFF BILLY SOLLIE

No, sir.

BRIAN ROSS

For the Lockheed company, there's more at stake as the country's largest defense contractor, the manufacturer of jet fighters and other military equipment. Its $25 billion in government contracts could be jeopardized if Lockheed was found to have tolerated racial discrimination.

MARY FRANCIS BERRY, FORMER CHAIRMAN US CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION

If the federal government wanted to, the federal government could review their contracts.

BRIAN ROSS

But Mary Francis Berry, the former chairman of the US Civil Rights Commission, says no one in the Bush Administration seems to be eager to go after Lockheed.

MARY FRANCIS BERRY

I have seen absolutely no indication, and in talking to people in the Federal government who are still there and are political officials, there's no movement to do anything about any of this.

BRIAN ROSS

To get answers from Lockheed's CEO and Chairman Robert Stevens, we had to go to the company's annual shareholders meeting in Albuquerque after officials refused repeated requests to talk with us.

BRIAN ROSS

This is Brian Ross with ABC News, "Primetime Live." How are you? Nice to see you. We're doing a story about what happened at your Meridian plant, and I want to ask you, do you find the word nigger offensive?

ROBERT STEVENS, CEO, LOCKHEED MARTIN

Brian, I'm surprised that you would even ask me a question such as that.

BRIAN ROSS

Why was it tolerated so long at your plant if you find it offensive?

BRIAN ROSS

Stevens called the shootings an unspeakable tragedy but unconnected to racial discrimination at the plant.

ROBERT STEVENS

The shooting in Meridian, Mississippi was the act of a single person. And relative to ...

BRIAN ROSS

Who had threatened to kill Blacks for more than a year and a half. He used the term nigger on a regular basis on the floor of your plant. Your people were aware of it at the plant management level. We've seen the notes from your own people. He even had this hat. He had it like this as a Ku Klux Klan kind of cap he wore. What about your zero tolerance policy? Why was that permitted?

ROBERT STEVENS

Lockheed Martin has a zero tolerance policy ...

BRIAN ROSS

So, why was that permitted?

ROBERT STEVENS

Actions like that are not permitted in Lockheed Martin.

BRIAN ROSS

Yet Lockheed's own documents from December 2001 show Williams was permitted to stay on the job long after the company became aware of death threats against Black co-workers.

CHARLES SCOTT

Came in, had an issue with us, with the Blacks. Management knew that. They need to own up to that.

ROBERT STEVENS

There is zero tolerance in Lockheed Martin.

BRIAN ROSS

So why was Doug Williams still employed there after he threatened Blacks, he called them niggers all the time?

ROBERT STEVENS

I'm not going to elaborate any further discussion with you today on the situation at Meridian.

CHARLES SCOTT

How could they let that happen? How could it be? How could they say that they didn't know anything about it? How could they take a chance like that? I don't understand that.

BRIAN ROSS

And now a final insult. Doug Williams, the man who murdered six people at Lockheed, is being hailed by some as a victim and a martyr. The Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement, a White power group, portrays Williams on its website as a man who tried to fight back against the oppression of racial mixing and Blacks taking over.

RICHARD BARRETT, FOUNDER, NATIONALIST MOVEMENT

He was pushed over the edge.

BRIAN ROSS

Doug Williams?

RICHARD BARRETT

Yes.

BRIAN ROSS

By what?

RICHARD BARRETT

By the oppression in the workplace.

BRIAN ROSS

Richard Barrett runs the Nationalist Movement and sees the Lockheed Martin brochures as evidence of the kind of thing that bothered Williams.

RICHARD BARRETT

It's all the minorities lording over the majority. If you notice here, here's a colored man, a Jewish man, a butch, a mannish-looking woman.

BRIAN ROSS

Those are your terms.

RICHARD BARRETT

Well, that's, just look at the picture. And you might call nigger, we would say Negro. That's what I would like to say. It's kind of a contraction. It's respectful. It's like saying "darkie."

BRIAN ROSS

You think that's respectful?

RICHARD BARRETT

I do.

BRIAN ROSS

Barrett has been meeting with some of Williams' co-workers and friends, including the parents of Williams' common-law wife, Curtis and Frances Rossun. The Rossuns agree Williams was pushed too far for a White man and explain why certain racial slurs are acceptable.

CURTIS ROSSUN, FATHER-IN-LAW

Some of them are niggers. Now, there's some better folk, them real kind of dudes, full blood nigger. There's some good, they Blacks, they ain't niggers.

BRIAN ROSS

That's the kind of language and attitude that Black employees say they heard from Williams all the time, unchecked at this Lockheed plant until the morning of July 8th, 2003.

AL COLLIER

He did what he said he was going to do. He said he did not mind killing a bunch of Blacks. He killed a bunch of Blacks.