ACWORTH, Ga. – A gunman who wounded six colleagues in an Atlanta-area rampage didn’t seem enthusiastic about his job loading boxes but never mentioned problems with co-workers or supervisors, his father said Wednesday.
Geddy Kramer showed up early Tuesday morning with a shotgun at the FedEx package-sorting centre where he worked. He shot a security guard, then fired on those working in a large warehouse before killing himself, authorities have said. The assault sent workers running, ducking and hiding as they tried to escape the gunman.
“It was work to him. He didn’t go with a skip in his step every day but it was work,” said Scott Kramer, who lived with his son. “He didn’t have any grievances that I knew about. He didn’t say he had a problem with a co-worker or a supervisor or anything. He just said, ‘Off to work now.’ ‘Did you have a good day at work?’ ‘Well, you know, I loaded boxes and unloaded boxes and that was it.’”
Law enforcement officials have learned that co-workers at the FedEx centre reported Kramer to company management for shining a laser scanner at people’s eyes, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said. Reynolds didn’t know if the conflict factored into the attack.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever get all the facts,” Reynolds said.
Cobb County police spokesman Michael Bowman said investigators found a note left by Geddy Kramer, but he didn’t know what the note said. Bowman said Kramer bought the shotgun and that investigators found the box it was sold in, but declined to say where he bought it.
Kramer’s father apologized for his son’s actions, asking that people focus on the victims of the attack. The gunman’s father and other relatives struggled to reconcile the shy young man who enjoyed camping and fishing with the one who went on the violent rampage.
“I feel like I’ve lost my son in a couple different ways,” Scott Kramer told reporters outside his home. “The person who did this at FedEx, I didn’t know. My son was somebody completely different.”
Three of the six people taken to the hospital Tuesday have been released. One of the worst-injured, security guard Chris Sparkman, has already undergone two surgeries after Kramer shot him in the abdomen. He was listed Wednesday in critical but stable condition. Married for less than a year, Sparkman was working extra hours to boost his pay.
He was three minutes away from the end of his shift when Geddy Kramer attacked.
“This guy would do anything for anybody,” said Richard Hemphill, the pastor at the church Sparkman attends. “He wouldn’t leave his post, I guarantee you.”
Police in Cobb County, north of Atlanta, were still sorting through evidence, including 911 call recordings, witness statements and physical evidence from the scene of the crime. They would not comment on what motivated the gunman or whether they believe he made threatening statements before the assault.
“They are still in the stages of trying to piece it all together,” Bowman said.
Anthony Ward, 20, said he and two others were moving boxes near the main employee entrance when the man with a gun and ammunition strapped across his chest walked in.
“I thought it was a joke or a test at first he said, but then I realized it was not fake,” he told The Associated Press Wednesday.
Ward added: “He came in and looked at me, but he didn’t turn the gun toward me.”
A manager shouted, “Gun!” and yelled to people to get out. Ward ran quickly to the opposite end of the building, shouting to others to leave the building, he said. When he got outside, he saw the security guard lying on the ground as a manager applied pressure to the wound in his abdomen, Ward said.
Ward’s girlfriend, 24-year-old Rachel Hope Boggs, also works at the sorting centre and was standing beside the conveyor belt where she works when a friend hit the “all stop” button to halt the belt’s movement and told her there was an armed man in the building. She moved away from her work station and looked back across the conveyor belt.
“He locked eyes with me as he loaded his gun,” she said, adding that he had a cold look in his eyes.
Both Ward and Boggs described a scene of chaos, with people screaming and running to get out of the building, and neither could remember whether the gunman seemed to be targeting specific people or if he was shooting at random. Both praised the facility’s managers, saying they stayed inside the building to make sure everyone got out safely.
Geddy Kramer’s relatives said they did not notice any problems leading up to the attack.
“He left at the same time he always leaves and there was nothing that would have indicated to me that anything was different about that day,” Scott Kramer said.
Geddy Kramer started working for FedEx straight out of high school, according to his grandmother Diana Mayberry. Her grandson would typically come to rural Illinois in the summer to catch up with family and fish, hike and ride four-wheelers.
“He seemed like a normal kid, to me,” said Mayberry, who was travelling to Atlanta to be with her family. “I don’t know what happened. I have no clue. I just don’t understand it. They didn’t even have access to guns in the house.”
He seemed pleased to be working at FedEx.
“When he got the job, he was thrilled to death,” she said. “Then he got on full-time and he said he really liked it.”
Henry reported from Atlanta. Associated Press researcher Judith Ausuebel contributed to this report from New York.