Dec. 28, 2000 -- A new mother just back from maternity leave, a young man who had encouraged his brother to come on board at a company he loved, and a woman’s gesture of filling in for a co-worker on the day after Christmas put her in the line of fire.
All three were among the seven people gunned down, allegedly by a co-worker who brought a bag of weapons to their Internet consulting company on Tuesday.
Michael McDermott is charged with seven counts of murder in the shooting spree at Edgewater Technology. Prosecutors say he was upset because the company had agreed to garnish his wages to pay back taxes he owed the IRS.
Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Tom O’Reilly said the victims most likely were not random because “he walked by individuals who were working and specifically targeted the individuals” he shot. Most of the victims worked in the accounting department.
“They were some of the sweetest, smartest people I’ve ever had the chance to work with,” Edgewater employee Michael Stanley told The Boston Globe. “They were the cream of the crop.”
The dead were identified as Janice Hagerty, 46, office manager fromStoneham; Cheryl Troy, 50, vice president for human resources; Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29, from marketing; Rose Manfredi, 48, a payroll worker from Lexington; Louis A. Javelle, 58, of Nashua, N.H., director ofconsulting in the company’s Manchester, N.H., office; Paul Marceau,36, a software development technician from Melrose; and Craig Wood, 29, who worked in human resources, of Haverhill.
The church that opened its doors to the survivors this evening was holding a nondenominational service to help the healing begin. But for family, friends and co-workers still in shock, healing likely will be a long process.
Hagerty, the office manager, agreed to fill in because the receptionist was on vacation — a good deed that cost her life. She may have been the second person killed.
O’Reilly said it is believed that McDermott began his rampage by shooting Troy as she stood beside the receptionist’s desk, then turned his gun on Hagerty as she fled.
She left behind her husband Daniel, and 20-year-olddaughter, Erin.
‘The Nicest Person’
Troy became the company’s vice president for human resources in 1998 and previously worked at Leggatt McCall Properties LLC in Boston and for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. She was described by her sister, Paula Schmidt as an animal lover who liked spending time at the ocean, especially Singing Beach, in Manchester, N.H.
“She was absolutely the nicest person that anyone could haveknown,” said Schmidt. “She wouldn’t have hurt anyone.”
Bragg Capobianco had come back to work at the company just before Christmas, following the birth of her new daughter, Eve. She worked in the marketing department, was married to an emergency medical technician and commuted from the Brighton section of Boston.
Her upstairs neighbor and landlord, Wilma Wetterson, describedBragg Capobianco and her husband as an “ideal couple.”
“They were very devoted to the baby and very excited,” she told the Boston Herald.
Manfredi was shot one day before her 49th birthday, but a neighbor told the Globe that she looked 20 years younger, saying Manfredi could easily be mistaken for her daughter.
Javelle and Marceau worked in consulting, the same division as the suspect. Javelle, a former Army captain who served in Vietnam, was a widower with three sons and a daughter. A neighbor, Michael Gentile, described him as “very religious,” quiet man. He had been with the company since 1992 and was just visiting the Wakefield office when the shooting occurred.
‘A Genuine, Unselfish Spirit’
Neighbors said Marceau was a friendly man who was always ready to help others. He took part in bicycle races to raise money for charity and was a volunteer for the American Cancer Society.
“Above all else Paul was a kind, gentle and beautiful personthat was always willing to extend a hand to family, friends andco-workers,” said a statement released by his family. “The world has lost a genuine, unselfish spirit.”
He left behind two daughters, ages 8 and10.
Craig Wood had worked in the company’s human resources department for more than two years. His 26-year-old brother Brian shared his condominium on the Merrimack River and also worked at Edgewater, but on Tuesday he had a morning class, and didn’t get to work until after the shooting had ended.
“He was totally distraught and in shock, as we were,” their father, William Wood of Haworth, N.J., told the Globe. “I couldn’t believe it. It goes beyond shocking.”
Larry Fortin, a New Hampshire man who also worked at Edgewater, made adecision that may have saved his life. Fortin left his officeTuesday about one hour before McDermott allegedly pulled out his guns and started firing.
Fortin told the Foster’s Daily Democrat his day began like any other. But around 10 a.m., he and some colleagues decided they could be more productive meeting with their clients in person.
Fortin told the newspaper he was on his way back to the office when he got a call on his cell phone. It was from a co-worker inside the building warning him and theothers not to come back.
Fortin said he was surprised by the rampage because the officewas a relaxed and friendly place to work. He said he had talked toeach of the seven victims before leaving the office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report