Lottery Shooting Victims Mourned
COLCHESTER, Conn. (AP) _ Flags flew at half staff today as this small New England town paid tribute to the four people who were killed at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters by an enraged co-worker.
``It’s just a terrible thing,″ said Nancy LaFlamme, a neighbor of Michael Logan, a lottery information services officer who was killed in Friday’s rampage. ``It’s mostly the kids and the wife that you think about, that we are praying for.″
The mourning extended to the home of the gunman, accountant Matthew Beck, 35, who killed himself as police closed in.
His 71-year-old father, Donald, sobbed as he recalled to the Hartford Courant how he saved his son’s life after Matthew Beck tried to commit suicide by overdosing on medication last year.
``That might have been a mistake,″ he said, rocking slightly. ``That might have been a mistake.″
Matthew Beck had gone years without a promotion at the lottery, then filed a grievance in August, one year after he was shifted from accounting to data processing work. After taking a stress-related medical leave in October and undergoing treatment, he returned to work Feb. 25.
He also had approached at least two newspaper reporters in recent months to claim the lottery exaggerated potential winnings to spur ticket sales, and that store clerks were taking winning scratch tickets for themselves by cracking the computer system.
Although Beck had been depressed over his job, as he left for work Friday morning he gave his family no hint of the violence he would unleash.
He woke up early, fed his cat and greeted his father. Dressed casually in jeans, he slung his black bag over his shoulder and headed out the door with the parting words of ``Well, I’m off.″ He made plans to see ``Titanic″ with a friend that night.
Soon after, he stabbed and shot Logan, who had denied his grievance. He then shot Linda Mlynarczyk, the lottery’s chief financial officer with whom he had recently discussed his new duties. He told her ``bye bye″ before firing three times, witnesses said.
He then shot Frederick Rubelmann III, to whom he had once appealed for help, before chasing down Otho Brown, the lottery president, in the parking lot.
On Sunday, parishioners crowded into Sunday services at St. Andrews Roman Catholic Church in Colchester, a town of about 12,000 people.
``Is there a book, a person, a place where we can get an answer where it all makes sense? No, we come here and we seek (God),″ Father Michael Giannitelli said during his homily. ``Because we love God does not mean that bad things will not happen.″
More memorial services in honor of the victims were planned for this week.
Donald Beck recalled how his son had recently moved back into his family’s home, where police found a collection of weapons, including two semiautomatic assault weapons.
``If he didn’t have access to the gun, I’m sure he would have tried a knife or a baseball bat,″ Donald Beck told the Courant. ``But if he didn’t have access to a firearm, the damage might have been less. I will regret that to my dying day.″