Newly-released 911 calls show that the gunman who shot up a Connecticut beer distributorship and killed eight people on Tuesday terrified employees during a 45-minute rampage, in which police say he may have targeted and chased specific victims before taking his own life.
"Someone got shot, I got shot," Steven Hollander, the vice president of Hartford Distributors, told a 911 operator as he hid in his office. "We need the cops."
Hollander told the operator he knew the gunman.
"His name is Omar Thornton. He's a black guy, and get the cops here right away, I'm bleeding all over the place," said Hollander. "We need cops right away."
Hollander is believed to be one of the first of Thornton's victims and one of the few to survive after being shot. He was treated at a Hartford hospital for a gunshot wound to his neck.
Thornton opened fire right after meeting with the 50-year-old Hollander, who had given him a choice either to be fired or quit. Thornton had been trailed by a private investigator hired by the company after he was suspected of stealing alcohol from the distributor, police said at a news conference today.
In the 911 call, Hollander described a scene of complete chaos.
"There are people running all over the place," he said. "He's running, he's shooting at someone else, he's still shooting. He's still running after people, he's not leaving."
"Oh, s***, he's still shooting, I hear guns out there," said Hollander. "He's in the parking lot shooting people, he's carrying a red lunch bag."
When the 911 operator asks Hollander if the gunman had worked at the distributor, Hollander said, "Yeah, 'til I just fired him."
"Today, just now, before he started shooting," said Hollander. "He's chasing people in the parking lot."
Thornton passed over several people during the rampage inside and around the distributor, according to Manchester Police Lt. Chris Davis, who said authorities believe the first few victims were likely targeted.
Davis declined to specify who the first of Thornton's victims were, but said that many of those who were killed were "executives" or "higher level" employees. All of those who were shot were 49 or older.
The first of Thornton's victims were found right outside the kitchenette where authorities believe he had stowed two handguns in a red metal lunchbox.
At one point, Thornton chased two people outside of the building and shot them, said Davis. He shot through a glass window to reenter the building, which was locked, and continued shooting.
The first 911 call was received just before 7:30 a.m., according to Davis.
When authorities arrived just three minutes later, the scene was "chaotic" and the walls of the massive distributorship were hard to navigate because of the stacks of liquor cartons that created makeshift hallways.
"We got calls from people under their desks and hiding in their offices," said Davis. "He really went through the whole building in a fairly short amount of time."
One of the 911 calls was made by an unidentified woman who was crying as she told the operator what Thornton looked like.
"He's a tall black guy he's like the only lack guy who works here almost," the woman told the operator. "Come get me."
Another unidentified man called 911 and told operators that he knew people were dead.