SAMSON, Ala. — The gunman who killed 10 people and committed suicide in a rampage across the Alabama countryside had struggled to keep a job and left behind a list of employers and co-workers he believed had wronged him, authorities said Wednesday.
The list, found in his home, included a metals plant that had forced Michael McLendon to resign years ago. Also on the list was a sausage factory where he suddenly quit last week and a poultry plant that suspended his mother, District Attorney Gary McAliley said.
McAliley was quoted as telling the Dothan Eagle that McLendon also listed people at the sausage factory who had complained about McLendon for such things as not wearing earplugs and slicing the meat too thin.
"We found a list of people he worked with, people who had done him wrong," the district attorney said outside the charred house where the rampage began.
But investigators offered no immediate explanation for why he targeted relatives and other people who weren't on the list as he fired more than 200 rounds in a roughly 20-mile trail of carnage across two counties near the Florida state line Tuesday.
In about an hour, McLendon, 28, set the home he shared with his mother on fire, killed five relatives and five bystanders and committed suicide in a standoff.
"The community's just in disbelief, just how this could happen in our small town," said state Sen. Harri Anne Smith, from the nearby town of Slocomb. "This was 20-something miles of terror."
It was not clear how long McLendon had been planning the attack, but authorities said he armed himself with four guns — two assault rifles with high-capacity magazines taped together, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol — and may have planned a bigger massacre than he had time to carry out. "I'm convinced he went over there to kill more people. He was heavily armed," said Sheriff Dave Sutton.
The shooting was the deadliest attack by a single gunman in Alabama history, and plunged Sansom, the community of about 2,000 where McLendon grew up and where most of his victims lived, into mourning.
In the close-knit town, the mayor coached McLendon in T-ball when he was a boy, and the dead included the wife and daughter of one of the sheriff's deputies sent to chase McLendon.
The rampage started around 3:30 p.m. at McLendon's mother's home. Authorities said he put her on an L-shaped couch, piled stuff on top of her and set her ablaze. Before he left, he also shot four dogs. McLendon then drove a dozen miles and gunned down three other relatives and two others on a porch and shot his grandmother next door.
He shot three more people at random as he drove toward the metals plant, firing from his car. At the plant, McLendon got out of his car and fired at police with his assault rifle, wounding Geneva police Chief Frankie Lindsey, authorities said. Then he walked inside and killed himself.