6 Die in Shooting at Miss. Lockheed Plant

AP Wire Service

MERIDIAN, Miss. – An employee opened fire at a Lockheed Martin plant Tuesday, killing five people before killing himself, authorities said. Eight other people were taken to hospitals.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie confirmed the deaths and injuries. “He had a shotgun and a semiautomatic rifle and he appeared to open fire at random on employees,” Sollie said. “In addition to the dead, we have eight people transported to local hospitals.”

Sollie said no other individuals were involved and his officers were securing the scene. Investigators had no motive, he said.

Sollie didn’t release the name of the gunman but said he was a Lockheed Martin employee. He had no information on whether the man had been in trouble with his bosses.

Officials at the plant declined to comment and a Lockheed Martin national spokeswoman was unavailable to immediately provide details.

“We’re just trying to gather information and are working with state and local authorities to determine the details of the incident,” said spokeswoman Meaghan Mariman from the company’s Bethesda, Md., headquarters.

The Meridian plant builds parts for the C-130J Hercules and vertical stabilizers for F-22 Raptor jets, which are assembled at the plant in Marietta, Ga., along with military transport planes.

Lockheed Martin is the largest defense contractor in the United States. The corporation had sales of $24 billion in 2001. It employs about 125,000 people.

Subsidiary Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. is based in Fort Worth, Texas.