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Lottery Workers Cry As They Return

March 10, 1998

NEWINGTON, Conn. (AP) _ Tearful lottery employees were greeted with hugs and roses Tuesday as they returned to a workplace wiped clean of any trace of the gunman who killed four supervisors and himself.

The lottery agency reconfigured employee Matthew Beck’s work space, removing his desk, chair, phone and other equipment, and permanently closed off the executive suite where he went on his murderous rampage.

``There’s physically no evidence he ever had a workplace here,″ said Nuala Forde, spokeswoman for Gov. John G. Rowland, who greeted employees inside the building.

Beck, who was involved in a pay dispute with his bosses, killed three of the officials in the building Friday and chased down the lottery’s chief executive in the parking lot, killing him.

Beck, an accountant, had just returned to work after a four-month stress-related leave.

``It’s calm, but people aren’t holding anything back,″ Forde said. ``People are hugging and crying.″

The employees found new carpeting and paint in the reception area, a new employee entrance, vases of flowers on every desk and office floral displays centered by four red roses _ one for each victim. Grief counselors also sat waiting to help them.

Nearly half of its lottery’s 110 employees came to work Tuesday morning, even though they were told they could stay out this week without having to use sick or vacation time.

After only about 90 minutes, the employees boarded state-provided buses to attend the funerals of two of the victims.

Inside lottery headquarters, officials said the agency had walled off the executive suite and that the offices would no longer be used.

``We have no delusions that these changes will erase the trauma of what happened,″ Forde said. ``This is the least the state can do.″

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