Meridian Star

Local News

July 8, 2006

Lockheed Martin: Three years later

For Al Collier, the morning of Tuesday, July 8, 2003, began like any other. He had taken the day off the day before and really didn’t feel like going back, but he got out of bed and began a routine he’d had for the past 18 years.

Shortly after arriving at work at Lockheed Martin in the Sonny Montgomery Industrial Park, an aeronautics assembly plant located just outside Meridian’s city limits in the town of Marion, Collier learned he and 12 others were required to attend an ethics class in the plant’s training room.

Hesitantly, Collier clocked out and joined the others in the training room. Sitting next to him was Doug Williams.

“He was talking to me and we were actually having conversation,” Collier said. “He was telling me, ‘Al, you can be our spokesperson,’ and I told him I don’t really like doing this kind of stuff. We were having a friendly little talk, and then he just got up and walked out of the class.”

What happened next is forever etched in Collier’s memory: He said Williams burst into the class after about 10 minutes carrying guns and wearing a bandana on his head. A co-worker, Mickey Fitzgerald, pleaded with Williams to not do what it appeared he was about to do.

Williams began shooting and Fitzgerald, a white man, was the first killed.

“I was dumbfounded until he fired the gun,” Collier said. “Then everybody panicked and tried to protect themselves. After he shot Mickey, he kept shooting, then he said, ‘There are four right there.’”

Before the rampage was over, five people were dead and nine were wounded. DeLois Bailey, who was shot in the training room, died a few days later.

Williams then took his life in front of his girlfriend and co-worker, Shirley Price.

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