The Geneva County massacre,
which occurred on March 10, 2009, spanned at least two communities,
Geneva and Samson in Geneva County, Alabama, and resulted in the death
of 11 people, including the 28 year old gunman, Michael Kenneth McLendon.
The victims included members of the McLendon family;
he also burned down his mother's house in the town of Kinston, Alabama.
When law enforcement reached him, McLendon was shot and killed, though
it was initially unclear whether the shot was self-inflicted. Later
reports said he committed suicide.
Timeline of events
The attacks began at McLendon's residence in Kinston,
Alabama, where he killed his mother and set the house on fire.
He went to a relative's home in Samson where he shot
several members of his family as well as a neighbor and her daughter.
McLendon left the family member's home, killed a pedestrian alongside
the road, then stopped at a local gas station, killing a customer inside.
McLendon left the gas station heading along Alabama
Highway 52 towards Geneva, Alabama. He killed another man who was
attempting to subdue him. The suspect is also said to have fired at cars
on the highway. Law enforcement officers at one point used the PIT
maneuver on the suspect's car which failed to stop him. He died in a
shoot-out in a Geneva metal products plant in which he is said to have
previously worked. During the shoot-out, Geneva police chief Frankie
Lindsey was shot in the arm. Several people were also injured.
The ages of the victims ranged from 18 months to 74
years old. Among the victims were the wife and child of a deputy
sheriff, along with the suspect's own mother, grandmother, uncle, niece
and 2 cousins. According to a local police officer:
Five were killed in a trailer in Samson. Two more
were killed in the Big and Little Store in Samson. The suspect was
killed in the Reliable store in Geneva. It is uncertain whether he
killed himself or was killed by one of the sheriffs. He shot at several
vehicles on the highway and then he shot at Wal-Mart and Piggly Wiggly
The victims were:
- Lisa White McLendon, 52, Michael McLendon's mother
- James Alford White, 55, McLendon's uncle
- Tracy Michelle Wise, 34, daughter of James White
- Dean James Wise, 15, son of Tracy Wise
- Virginia E. White, 74, McLendon's grandmother
- Andrea Dawn Myers, 31
- Corrine Gracy Myers, 18 months, daughter of Andrea Myers
- James Irvin Starling, 24
- Sonya Lolley Smith, 43
- Bruce Wilson Maloy, 51
Police believe that Michael Kenneth McLendon (September
19, 1980 - March 10, 2009), killed at least 11 people, including himself,
during the shooting; he shot other family members and strangers, and
shot and killed his mother and burned her house. The killings took place
in Coffee and Geneva counties, and ended with McLendon's suicide.
Detectives have discovered a hit list in his home
targeting several corporations. A letter was also found in which
McClendon admitted to killing his mother and that he planned to commit
suicide. The letter also mentioned a dispute over a legal issue with his
In response to a request for assistance from the
Geneva County Sheriff's Office and Samson Police, troops from nearby
Fort Rucker were deployed to the streets of Samson where they manned
traffic stops and guarded a makeshift morgue. An Army investigation
later determined this to be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act,
which prohibits federal troops from performing law enforcement actions,
and took administrative action against at least one officer.
One day later a school shooting causing 15 deaths
took place in Winnenden, Germany. Whether the massacre in Geneva County
was an actuator for this could not be finally determined.
Victims of the Geneva County
killed Tuesday in a shooting spree by Michael McLendon:
His mother: Lisa White McLendon, 52;
found shot to death inside her burning home in Kinston.
His uncle: James Alford White, 55, of
201 W. Pullum St., Samson; the former City of Samson employee in charge
of water, street, sanitation and sewer. White, the brother of Lisa
McLendon, was shot at his house.
His first cousin: Tracy Michelle Wise, 34,
who lived down the street at 204 W. Pullum St., former assistant
city clerk and magistrate for the City of Samson and daughter of Alford
White. Shot at her father’s house.
His second-cousin: Dean James Wise, 15,
a ninthgrade student at Samson High School, and son of Tracy Wise. Shot
at grandfather’s house.
Neighbor: Andrea Dawn Myers, 31, of
200 W. Pullum St., wife of Geneva County Sheriff’s Deputy Josh Myers,
who was involved in the pursuit of McLendon, not knowing that his wife
and child had been shot. Shot at White’s house.
Deputy’s daughter: Corinne Gracy Myers,
18-month-old daughter of Andrea and Josh. Shot at White’s house.
His grandmother: Virginia E. White, 74,
who lived in a trailer at 201-1 W. Pullum St. in the yard of her son,
Alford White. Shot in the doorway of her home.
A pedestrian: James Irvin Starling, 24,
of Wise Street, Samson, who was walking south on Wise Street at the time
of the shooting, just a few hundred yards from
the site of the Pullum Street shooting. Employed at Dollar General in
Inland customer: Sonja Lolley Smith, 43,
killed at Big Little/Inland store on Main Street in Samson.
Motorist: Bruce Wilson Maloy, 51,
while driving in his vehicle on state Highway 52 in Samson. He was a
welder by trade.
Shooter Michael McLendon, 28. Died of
self-inflicted gunshot wound after shootout with authorities at Reliable
Products, state Highway 27, Geneva.
Ella Myers, 3-month-old daughter of Andrea
and Josh Myers, at the White home on Pullum Street, Samson;
transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., with a gunshot
wound to the groin. Ella is in stable condition after surgery.
Jeffrey Lynn Nelson,
50, on West Main Street, Samson, traveling in a company vehicle a
few blocks from the Pullum Street shootings on Highway 52.
Greg McCullough, 49, at Big Little/Inland convenience store on West Main
Mike Gillis, Alabama State Trooper injured by
broken glass after McLendon shot at him while driving on state Highway
52 in Geneva.
Frankie Lindsey, Geneva Police Chief, shot in
the shoulder in front of Wal-Mart in Geneva on state Highway 52.
Ricky Morgan, Geneva
Police Department lieutenant, minor injuries from flying glass on
state Highway 52 in front of Geneva Wal-Mart.
gunman left list of those who wronged him
By Jessica Gresko and
March 11, 2009
SAMSON, Ala. — The gunman
who killed 10 people and committed suicide in a rampage across the
Alabama countryside had struggled to keep a job and left behind lists of
employers and co-workers he believed had wronged him, authorities said
The lists found in Michael
McLendon's home included a metals plant that had forced him to resign
years ago and where he ended up killing himself Tuesday to end the
rampage, District Attorney Gary McAliley said. Also on the list were a
sausage factory from which he suddenly quit last week and a poultry
plant that suspended his mother, McAliley said.
The pages torn from a
spiral notebook included names of co-workers who he felt had wronged him,
including one who reported him for not wearing ear plugs, another who
made him clean a meat grinder and a supervisor who didn't like the way
he cut pork chops, McAliley said.
"We found a list of people
he worked with, people who had done him wrong," said McAliley in an
interview outside the charred house where the rampage began.
Investigators offered no
immediate explanation for why McLendon targeted relatives and others who
weren't on the list as he fired more than 200 rounds in a roughly 20-mile
trail of carnage across two counties near the Florida state line.
The district attorney said
a piece of paper found in the house he shared with his mother also
included the names of nine lawyers in the area. He said McLendon
apparently wanted to hire a lawyer in a dispute with members of his
family over getting a family Bible returned to him, but details weren't
McLendon began his killing
spree across three southern Alabama communities by burning down his home,
and ended it by taking his own life at Reliable Metals, where he worked
until 2003. McAliley said he believes McLendon had planned more violence
at the Pilgrim Pride plant in Enterprise, where his mother worked, and
the place he recently quit, Kelly Foods in Elba.
McLendon's complete work
history wasn't immediately known, but he left the metals plant in Geneva
in 2003 and apparently worked at Pilgrim's Pride before joining the
sausage factory in 2007.
Lt. Barry Tucker of Alabama
Bureau of Investigations said at a news conference that McLendon was "somewhat
depressed about job issues" but that investigators don't believe the
shootings were job-related.
"There's no specific
indication of 'This is why I did it,'" said Tucker who wouldn't release
Federal court records show
McLendon and his mother are among Pilgrim Pride employees who filed a
lawsuit in 2006 against the Pittsburg, Texas-based poultry firm over
claims of unfair compensation. A company spokesman did not immediately
respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The district attorney said
records found in the home indicate Lisa McLendon was
accused of misstating her hours but was due to resume work March 17. The
wouldn't comment on the reason she was suspended.
In the span of about an
hour, McLendon, 28, set his home on fire, killed five relatives and five
bystanders and committed suicide in a standoff at the plant.
"The community's just in
disbelief, just how this could happen in our small town," said state
Sen. Harri Anne Smith, from the nearby town of Slocomb. "This was 20-something
miles of terror."
At a prayer service at
First Baptist Church of Samson, Rev. Steve Sellers made no attempt to
explain what would drive someone to commit such an act.
"Father, there are times in
life when we don't have answers to the question why," Sellers said to
several hundred people in the church, where sobs could be heard. "I
don't know what set a young man off like that, but I too want to pray
for his family."
It was not clear how long
McLendon had been planning the attack, but authorities said he armed
himself with four guns _ two assault rifles with high-capacity magazines
taped together, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol _ and may have
planned a bigger massacre than he had time to carry out.
"I'm convinced he went over
there to kill more people," said Sheriff Dave Sutton.
The shooting was the
deadliest attack by a single gunman in Alabama history, and plunged
Samson, a community of about 2,000 where McLendon grew up and where most
of his victims lived, into mourning.
The town is so close-knit
that the mayor coached McLendon in T-ball when he was a boy, and the
dead included the wife and daughter of one of the sheriff's deputies who
was sent to chase McLendon.
As word about the killings
spread, graduates of the local high school scrambled to find their
yearbooks, and many realized they knew the gunman.
"Something had to snap,"
said Jerry Hysmith, 35, who worked with McLendon at the metals plant in
Among the dead were some of
the very people who might have helped explain what set off McLendon _
his grandmother, his mother, an uncle and two cousins.
This much is clear:
McLendon had a hard time keeping a job over the years, and had been
forced to resign from his position at a local Reliable Metals plant in
2003, authorities said. Investigators would not say why.
That year, he tried to join
the police academy, but lasted only a week before flunking out,
authorities said. His next known job came in 2007, at a nearby sausage
plant operated by Kelley Foods.
The company said he quit
last week but was considered a team leader and was well-liked by
The rampage started around
3:30 p.m., when McLendon put his mother on an L-shaped couch, piled
stuff on top of her and set her ablaze, authorities said. Before he left,
he also shot four dogs. Investigators did not immediately say whether
the woman was dead or alive when the fire was set.
Inside the charred home, a
gun safe was left with its door ajar, and military gear, including a
camouflage jacket and green military-style backpack, was found about the
home. In another room, remnants of his baseball career, including a 1995
All-Star trophy, were prominently displayed.
McLendon then drove a dozen
miles and gunned down three other relatives and the deputy's wife and
daughter on a porch and shot his grandmother at a house next door,
sending panicked bystanders fleeing and ducking behind cars. His uncle's
wife, Phyllis White, sought refuge in the house of neighbor Archie Mock.
"She was just saying, `I
think my family is dead. I think my family is dead,'" Mock said.
McLendon went inside the
house and chased his aunt out before driving off, said Tom Knowles, who
was at his son's house nearby and saw the shooting. Knowles said
McLendon returned moments later in his car as if looking for the aunt,
then turned and looked at Knowles.
"He had cold eyes. There
was nothing. I hollered at him. I said, 'Look, boy, I ain't done nothing
to you,'" Knowles said. McLendon then left for good.
Then, McLendon shot three
more people at random as he drove toward the metals plant, firing from
At the metals plant,
McLendon got out of his car and fired at police with his assault rifle,
wounding Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, authorities said. Then he
walked inside and killed himself.
The victims included the
wife and 18-month-old daughter of sheriff's Deputy Josh Myers, who was
sent to chase McLendon. Myers did not know then that his wife and
daughter were among the dead. His 4-month-old daughter was wounded in
cried so much yesterday, I don't have a tear left in me," said Myers,
who did not know McLendon. "I feel like I should be able to walk in the
house and my wife would be there, my baby girl climbing on me."
Cops Close to Motive in Murderous
Ala. Gunman Turns Towns Into Slaughter Houses
By Steve Osunsami,
Bill Carter, Mark Mooney, Mary McGuirt and Dean Schabner
March 11, 2009
Investigators said this evening they are close to
unravelling the mystery behind what led Michael McLendon to go on a
grisly shooting rampage, killing 10 people, including his mother and
grandmother before killing himself.
But according to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation,
the killing spree had nothing to do with a list of co-workers that was
found in a notebook in his partially burned home, which law enforcement
officials earlier indicated might have provided clues to his motive.
The list included "the names of co-workers and some
supervisors," Coffee County Assistant District Attorney Tom Anderson
"He had jotted down notes for having been reported by
employees for a job related infraction or for being reprimanded. He was
obviously upset with them," Anderson said.
At a news conference this evening, though, ABI
officials described that list as an employee phone list from Kelley
Foods, a sausage factory where McLendon worked until last week, and said
it was found in a notebook that appeared to be more than a year old.
The ABI officials refused to go into detail about
what McLendon's motive might have been, but insisted that it did not
appear to be job related.
Though law enforcement officials had characterized
the list as a possible key to what set the man off, they said most of
McLendon's victims were members of his family and no one on the list was
among the dead.
"He cleaned his family out," Coffee County coroner
Robert Preachers said. "We don't know what triggered it."
Coffee County District Attorney Gary McAliley had
told The Associated Press the list was a compilation of people "who had
done him wrong."
The list also included several companies, including
Kelley Foods and Reliant Metals, a factory where McLendon, 27, worked in
Also on the list, according to federal court records
obtained by the AP, was Pilgrim Pride, a poultry plant where he and his
mother had worked. According to the records, McLendon and his mother,
along with other plant employees, had sued Pilgrim Pride over
compensation claims from when they were suspended in 2006.
McLendon's murderous spree began with the execution-style
killing of his mother and ended at Reliant Metals, where he was cornered
by police and shot himself in the head.
It appeared that McLendon had intended to keep
hunting victims at the factory.
"He had plenty of ammo in his car and other weapons,
and he appeared to be going to do some damage there," Kirke Adams,
district attorney for Geneva and Dale counties, told the AP.
Alabama state trooper John Reese told "Good Morning
America" this morning, "We are still unclear of what caused the incident."
The shooter is described by former classmates and
officials as a "quiet" person who was briefly a member of the local
police department, but left the force without finishing his training.
McLendon abruptly quit his job at Kelley Foods last week where he was
called a respected "team leader."
McLendon's killing spree began in Kinston, Ala., just
north of the Florida line, where he shot his mother, Lisa McLendon,
"She was shot in the head," Anderson said.
The woman was found lying face down on her couch.
Anderson said that her body was covered with the corpses of her three
dogs apparently shot by McLendon, and covered up with a pile of clothes.
She was doused with an accelerant and the couch was set on fire, he said.
Police say the heavily armed McLendon then got into
his car and drove through two towns, stopping or slowing down to fire at
people on their porches, at a gas station, or on the street.
Toward the end of his attack, McLendon engaged in a
running gun battle with police who tried to ram his car to stop him.
"He opened up on us with an AK-47," said Geneva
Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, who was wounded in the shoulder. "That's
what it looked like. It could have been an M-16, but it was an assault
rifle, automatic. And he burst about 15 to 18 rounds on our vehicle, all
"It looked like he was trying to kill us. There's no
doubt about it," Lindsey said. "We were face-to-face with him. He just
put the weapon out the window and let go a burst."
Lindsey said his bulletproof vest saved his life. "The
vest comes in play, I promise you," he said with a nervous laugh.
It was later determined that McLendon was armed with
two high powered assault rifles, a Soviet-made SKS and a Bushmaster. He
also had at least one . 38 caliber pistol, police said. He fired more
than 200 rounds, police said at a news conference today.
The carnage ended when McLendon drove to the Reliant
Metals factory where he once worked and exchanged more shots with the
police before he went inside and shot himself to death, police said.
After leaving his mother's house Tuesday afternoon,
McLendon drove 12 miles to the town of Samson, where he mowed down
several of his own family members as they sat on a porch. Among the dead
were an uncle, a cousin and a nephew.
Also cut down were Andrea Myers and her 18-month-old
daughter child Corinne, the wife and daughter of a Geneva County
sheriff's deputy. The two had stopped by to visit on their neighbor's
porch. Only a 4-month-old baby, Ella Myers, covered in her mother's
blood, survived the onslaught.
'He Sprayed Bullets Through the Town'
He then shot his 74-year-old grandmother next door.
Barry Aplin told the Dothan Eagle newspaper that he
saw McLendon chase a woman into her house and open fire.
"I saw him in the living room just blazing the world
up," Aplin said.
The gunman then got into his car and began driving
around the tiny town, shooting through the car window at whoever
unfortunately caught his attention.
"He sprayed bullets through the town," Adams said.
Sonya Smith, 43, was shot dead when she stepped out
of a gas station. Another motorist, Bruce Malloy, was killed as he drove
past McLendon. James Starling, 24, was sprayed with bullets as he tried
to run away.
"In a cowardly act, he shot him in the back," Adams
McLendon fired several shots at the Bradley TrueValue
Hardware store before heading out of town for Geneva, 12 miles away.
"We were just business as normal, and all of a sudden
there were bullets flying and glass was everywhere," owner David Bradley
told the Dothan Eagle newspaper. "We realized what it was and grabbed
our guns, but then he was gone."
No one was hurt in the hardware store shooting. "There's
a lot of people who had close calls," Adams said. One of those was Greg
McCullough, who was pumping fuel at the gas station when the gunman
roared into the parking lot and slammed on his brakes.
"I first thought it was somebody playing," McCullough
told the AP. Then he saw the rifle.
McLendon opened fire, killing Smith when she stepped
outside and wounding McCullough with bullet fragments that struck his
truck and the pump. At one point the rifle appeared to jam, and then
McLendon fired more shots before driving off.
"She was a really good person. She was getting ready
to go to work," said Smith's friend Debra Hill. She said Smith has a
daughter who recently graduated from high school.
In Geneva, police said McLendon let loose with a
volley at a Wal-Mart, but it wasn't immediately clear whether anyone had
been injured in that attack.
Cops chased McLendon to the Reliable Metal Products
factory in Geneva, where he exchanged more shots with police before
walking inside and shooting himself.
One of the officers who cornered McLendon at the
factory was Josh Myers, whose wife and toddler daughter were shot dead
on the porch in Samson. His infant daughter, he said, was in stable
condition with a wound in her leg.
"We get trained to handle something like this ... but
this was something that was never expected," Myers told a news
Myers said he was devastated to find out that his
family was among McLendon's victims.
"I cried so much yesterday I don't have a tear left
in me," he said. "I never in my life will be able to understand it."
Myers appealed for help and asked people to pray for
him and his surviving daughter.
"I don't know how to handle this situation," he said.
ABC News' Emily Friedman
contributed to this report
A Basic Timeline of Michael
By Steve Huff - TrueCrime.Report.com
Mar. 11 2009
Yesterday, in South Alabama, a 28-year-old man named
Michael McLendon went full-blown psycho. He killed a number of his own
family members, but it looks like Michael didn't really discriminate
after a while - anyone was fair game.
When all was said and done, 11 people were dead by
his hand - including the killer himself. The following is brief timeline
of McLendon's spree:
* Around 4 p.m. - Michael McLendon kills his
girlfriend, mother Lisa and Lisa McLendon's 4 dogs at the residence he
shares with them. He sets the house on fire.
* 4 to 4:15 approximate - McLendon, driving his
Mitsubishi Eclipse, travels east to the town of Samson, in Geneva County.
He is extremely well-armed, weapons include an automatic rifle and a
shotgun. Just outside Samson, McLendon shoots his grandmother,
grandfather, aunt and uncle.
* McLendon also kills a man who lived in a mobile
home on his grandparents' property
* 4 to 4:15 approx. - McLendon goes to his
grandparents' neighbor across the street. He shoots and kills 31-year-old
Andrea Myers, the wife of a local sheriff's deputy, and her toddler
daughter. Another child is injured and taken to a Florida medical
facility. [Andrea Myers's MySpace profile. One of her posted songs: Blue
Oyster Cult, "Don't Fear the Reaper."]
* 4:15 to 4:30 approx. - McLendon has a confrontation
with a State Trooper while traveling down Highway 52 into Samson proper.
The Trooper suffers only minor injuries. Seven bullets hit the Trooper's
* Same timespan - McLendon kills two people,
apparently at random: woman a the Big-Little Store on Hwy. 52 and a man
at the Samson Pipe Supply.
* 4:20 to 4:30 approx. - McLendon fires shots at
random into a Wal-Mart on Hwy. 52. A local sheriff rams his vehicle. The
sheriff is shot in the shoulder. He drives himself to the hospital.
* Around 4:30 - Michael McLendon is in the parking
lot of Reliable Metal Products, where he once worked. He fires at least
30 rounds at law enforcement. McLendon enters the business, commits