Cops Close to Motive in Murderous Rampage

11 dead -- "He opened up on us with an AK-47," said wounded police chief.

ByABC News
March 11, 2009, 7:39 AM

March 11, 2009 — -- Investigators said this evening they are close to unravelling the mystery behind what led Michael McLendon to go on a grisly shooting rampage, killing 10 people, including his mother and grandmother before killing himself.

But according to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the killing spree had nothing to do with a list of co-workers that was found in a notebook in his partially burned home, which law enforcement officials earlier indicated might have provided clues to his motive.

The list included "the names of co-workers and some supervisors," Coffee County Assistant District Attorney Tom Anderson told

"He had jotted down notes for having been reported by employees for a job related infraction or for being reprimanded. He was obviously upset with them," Anderson said.

At a news conference this evening, though, ABI officials described that list as an employee phone list from Kelley Foods, a sausage factory where McLendon worked until last week, and said it was found in a notebook that appeared to be more than a year old.

The ABI officials refused to go into detail about what McLendon's motive might have been, but insisted that it did not appear to be job related.

Though law enforcement officials had characterized the list as a possible key to what set the man off, they said most of McLendon's victims were members of his family and no one on the list was among the dead.

"He cleaned his family out," Coffee County coroner Robert Preachers said. "We don't know what triggered it."

Coffee County District Attorney Gary McAliley had told The Associated Press the list was a compilation of people "who had done him wrong."

The list also included several companies, including Kelley Foods and Reliant Metals, a factory where McLendon, 27, worked in 2003.

Also on the list, according to federal court records obtained by the AP, was Pilgrim Pride, a poultry plant where he and his mother had worked. According to the records, McLendon and his mother, along with other plant employees, had sued Pilgrim Pride over compensation claims from when they were suspended in 2006.

McLendon's murderous spree began with the execution-style killing of his mother and ended at Reliant Metals, where he was cornered by police and shot himself in the head.