The anguished father of the gunman who shot six co-workers before killing himself Tuesday at a FedEx facility told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that the family is “dealing with a whole lot here right now.”
“We’re dealing with our own loss and wishing the best to everyone who was affected,” said Scott Kramer, who identified the gunman as his son, 19-year-old Geddy Kramer.
Scott Kramer, who answered the door at his family’s ranch-style home in Acworth, released a statement later Tuesday through the Acworth Police Department. A neighbor said the family had lived at that residence for at least a dozen years.
“First and foremost, our family would like to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims of this morning’s tragedy and their families,” the statement read. “Our prayers are for their complete and speedy recovery. Our thoughts are also with all the workers at FedEx who were affected by Geddy’s actions.
“We make no excuses for his actions and are shocked and devastated by them,” Kramer stated.” There really are no adequate words at a time like this. Our family would appreciate our privacy at this very difficult time.”
By Tuesday afternoon, authorities finished searching for an unknown number of “Molotov cocktails” that the shooter apparently left behind and turned the FedEx facility off Airport Road back over to the company. Shortly after 6 p.m., police also identified Geddy Kramer as the shooter.
A Molotov cocktail is essentially a simple bomb — a gasoline-filled bottle that is stuffed with a cloth rag and lit before it is thrown.
Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb police said the fatigue-clad, bandolier-wearing gunman killed himself with a gunshot to the head relatively shortly after walking in and firing upon co-workers.
Pierce said authorities “have an idea” of the motive, although he would not release it. He said investigators are talking with people who knew the man.
Police have not released the names of any of the victims.
However, a wounded security guard was identified as Christopher Sparkman by a man who said he was his brother, Larry Sparkman, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Two victims underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. They are a 28-year-old man and 52-year-old woman, both with multiple close-range wounds that appeared to be from a shotgun, emergency room Dr. Michael Nitzken told reporters at a midday news conference.
At 5 p.m., only the 28-year-old was in critical condition, according to police. The 52-year-old woman was in stable condition, along with two men, ages 19 and 21. Two additional victims were treated and released.
The incident started shortly before 6 a.m.
FedEx employee Liza Aiken said she saw the shooter, a 19-year-old man she said was a loader, just before she heard gunfire.
Aiken was doing address corrections on some packages when she said she “heard a clink.”
“I looked to my left, I saw him standing there and the knife was on the ground,” Aiken said. “He dropped his knife. He had an assault rifle. He had bullets strapped to his chest like Rambo. I mean, he looked like he was heading into war.”
Aiken said the man wore all black clothing and may have had on a camouflage vest. She had previously reported the shooting suspect to her superiors for pointing a laser used to scan bar codes in her eye, Aiken said.
Other FedEx employees described chaos at the facility as events unfolded.
“I looked down hallway and I see somebody run with a gun on the other side of the terminal,” said employee Randy Kitfield. “I thought, maybe it’s the cops; I thought maybe a bomb scare or something.”
Michael Hogeland, a ground driver, said “[My boss] called me about 6 o’clock this morning saying there was a guy inside (who) shot a security guard. He had a gun pointed at [my boss] and said, ‘Don’t worry about getting here on time.’”
After they were evacuated, survivors were transported by bus from the shipping plant to Sparkles skating rink nearby. There, they were questioned by police before being reunited with families and loved ones.
FedEx released a statement Tuesday expressing gratitude to the law enforcement officers for their diligence and condolences to the victims and their families.
“The situation is now stabilized and we are focused on the needs of our team members and cooperating with the law enforcement investigation of this tragedy,” said FedEx spokesman Scott Fielder.
Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee also issued a statement thanking emergency responders and the medical professionals who are caring for the injured.
“As a community and as neighbors, we offer our support and prayers to the families impacted by the shooting,” Lee said.
— Staff writer Rodney Thrash, Christian Boone, Bill Torpy, Kelly Yamanouchi and Alexis Stevens contributed to this report.