Teamsters set up memorial fund for victims of Hartford Distributors shooting

The Teamsters as an organization have received a lot of criticism over the years, but they are all human beings who support each other in times of need. It’s even in their official name – International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Well, the Teamsters family suffered a great loss two days ago, as did the state of Connecticut, when a disgruntled employee who had just been forced to resign his position as a truck driver at beer and wine distributor Hartford Distributors, opened fire, killing eight people and then himself in the state’s worst workplace shooting in its history.

The employee, identified as Omar Thornton, had allegedly been caught on tape offloading product from his truck into private vehicles, according to various local news reports. According to police, he was summoned to the facility on Tuesday morning where he was confronted with the evidence and told he could either resign or be fired. He chose resignation, and shortly thereafter, opened fired.

Among the dead were seven members of Teamsters Local 1035, including President Bryan Cirigliano, who tried to stop Thornton only to be shot himself. Steven Hollander, the company’s chief financial officer a member of the family which owns the distributorship, the largest in Connecticut, was also among those shot, luckily surviving the attack.

“My heart goes out to the victims and their families at this tragic time,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “Although no words can ease this terrible pain and loss, I hope those involved are able to take comfort in knowing that 1.4 million men and women are standing with them now and always.”

The victims:

William Ackerman, 51, Broad Brook

Bryan Cirigliano, 51, Newington

Francis Fazio, 57, Bristol

Louis Felder, 50, Stamford

Victor James, 60, Windsor

Edwin Kennison, 49, East Hartford

Craig Pepin, 60, South Windsor

Douglas Scruton, 56, Middleton, N.H.

To offer support to the families and community, the Teamsters have set up a memorial fund for the victims, several of whom were nearing or planning to retire soon.

Donations should be sent to:

Teamsters Local 1035 Hartford Distributors Memorial Fund

c/o Teamsters Local Union 1035

400 Chapel Road, 2-B

South Windsor, Connecticut 06074

As someone who lives in Connecticut, only about 30 minutes away from the site of this terrible tragedy, I urge anyone who can afford to make a donation of any kind to help out these families.