W A K E F I E L D, Mass., Dec. 26, 2000 -- Seven people were killed today when a man armed with a shotgun, a semiautomatic assault rifle, and a semi-automatic pistol opened fire at the corporate headquarters of a Massachusetts Internet consulting firm.
Michael McDermott, 42, an employee of the company, Edgewater Technology, Inc., was arrested in the building lobby and charged with seven counts of murder, police said
Police received numerous emergency calls at 11 a.m. When the shooting broke out, several employees who heard the shots fled the building and took refuge in a store across the street, where they called police.
All seven people killed in the five-to-10 minute attack were employees of Edgewater. Two were killed in the company’s reception area while the other five were gunned down at their work stations, police said. Shell casings and bullets were found all over the office. “There was an enormous amount of firepower,” Coakley said. She said McDermott did not have a permit for any of the weapons he was carrying and had no prior criminal record. Police found McDermott sitting silently in the reception area, a body nearby. Though his weapons were within reach, he was arrested without gunfire.
Assistant District Attorney John McEvoy refused to comment on whether the victims were shot at random or whether they were chosen for some reason out of the 70-80 people working in the building at the time. No one else was shot.
The victims were identified as Jennifer Bragg-Capobianco; Janice Hagerty; Louis Javelle; Rose Manfredy; Paul Marceau; Cheryl Troy; and Craig Wood.
McDermott’s wages were to be garnished after the holidays because he was delinquent in tax payments, said Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, who said the IRS had contacted Edgewater. The garnishment could have been a motive for the shootings, Coakley said.
McDermott had worked at Edgewater since March, said McEvoy.
During an earlier briefing, McEvoy refused to comment on whether a rumor that 25 percent of the company’s staff was going to be laid off triggered the shooting. Company officials said there have not been any layoffs at Edgewater and none are planned any time soon.
McDermott was to be arraigned Wednesday morning at Malden District Court.
Scene Was ‘Absolutely Horrible’
“The gunman went postal,” one witness told reporters while grim-faced police, wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets, were still searching the three-story brick office complex about 10 miles north of Boston in Wakefield.
Heavily armed officers who conducted a room-to-room search of the offices, located in a converted mill, told reporters as they came out of the building that the scene inside was “absolutely horrible.”
For more than two hours, authorities closed off the area, allowing only emergency crews, ambulances and police near the building as they tried to locate any other victims and determine how many people carried out the shooting.
A spokesman for Edgewater earlier today said the software consulting company is in the process of moving its headquarters from Fayetteville, Ark., to Wakefield.
The company is undergoing a streamlining process, selling off its Commercial Services and Intellimark divisions to focus on Internet services. On Thursday it announced it was offering $8 a share for some 57 percent of the company’s outstanding common stock, a total offering of $130 million.
ABCNEWS.com’s Dean Schabner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.