Cobb Police named Geddy L. Kramer, 19, of Acworth, a former North Cobb High School student, as the suspect.
According to investigators and witnesses, at 5:54 a.m. Tuesday, Geddy drove a maroon Honda up to the security guard shack at the FedEx sorting facility at 1675 Airport Road by Cobb County Airport - McCollum Field.
After reportedly shooting the guard, he entered the warehouse, where police say he shot another five individuals. After doing so, police say he committed suicide inside a trailer docked on the backside of the business.
The suspect’s father, Scott Kramer, released a statement Tuesday evening through the Acworth Police Department.
“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,” Kramer said. “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. There really are no adequate words at a time like this. Our family would appreciate our privacy at this very difficult time.”
Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb Police said those people injured by gunshots were treated at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. They include a 28-year-old man in critical condition, a 52-year-old woman in stable condition, a 42-year-old woman who was released from WellStar after treatment, a 19-year-old man in stable condition, a 22-year-old man in stable condition and a 38-year-old man, who was also released after treatment.
A seventh man injured his knee while attempting to escape the shooting, police said.
Police said the shooter, who worked as a package sorter, also had explosive “Molotov cocktails” that were not detonated during the attack. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was also collecting evidence at the scene Tuesday.
The two people with life-threatening injuries — a 28-year-old man and 52-year-old woman — appeared to have been shot by a shotgun at close range, said Dr. Michael Nitzken, an emergency room physician. The pair underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon, Nitzken said. The man needed advanced life support and was on a ventilator. He was listed as being in critical condition Tuesday afternoon. The woman was said to be critical but stable.
“There is quite a bit of work to do,” Nitzken said about the treatment of the critical victims.
While police have declined to release any names, Dallas-based West Ridge Church posted on its Facebook page late Tuesday afternoon one of the men injured in the shootings was Chris Sparkman. The church wrote that Sparkman works as a security guard at the FedEx facility in Kennesaw and underwent surgery, “but the next 48 hours are critical for him ... Please join us in lifting Chris up in prayer, especially through these next 2 days.”
Workers and families anxiously wait
FedEx employees and their family members gathered at nearby Sparkles skating rink, 1000 McCollum Parkway, waiting to hear the status of their friends and loved ones who were inside the building during the shooting.
Employees wearing purple FedEx uniforms stood in the parking lot awaiting the arrival of their coworkers. Several employees were taken to the parking lot where tearful reunions took place.
Nearby, Carol Stanek of Kennesaw was waiting to hear if her son, a FedEx employee, had been injured. She called WellStar Kennestone Hospital, and was told her son had not been admitted.
While awaiting the status of her son’s well-being, Stanek said she never expected her son to be in danger while at work.
“I’ve been hearing the sirens all morning,” Stanek said. “I’m working from home today. I just thought it was because of the storm.”
Alex Ladner, a FedEx Ground driver, should have been in the building, but he overslept by about 30 minutes Tuesday morning and was late for work. At the time Ladner should have been arriving, the gunman was spraying bullets across the facility.
“It’s more real when it’s this close,” Lander said sitting in his pickup truck at the roller skating rink. “I should have been in there. I should have been walking through the guard shack.”
Hospital ‘well prepared’
Nitzken said the hospital received a phone call just before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday stating a shooting was in progress and the emergency department should expect multiple victims — all with multiple gunshot wounds. Emergency room workers were in the middle of a shift change, Nitzken said, which worked to the benefit of doctors who had double the normal staff at the time.
“It’s a sense of organized chaos,” Nitzken said, adding the hospital was well-prepared through its certification as a level two trauma center.
Hundreds of police officers and emergency responders lined the roads leading to the FedEx facility before dawn Tuesday. Officers wore bulletproof vests and marched carrying assault rifles down Old Highway 41 and Airport Road near the shipping facility searching for the gunman and possible explosive devices.
Old Highway 41, Airport Road and McCollum Parkway were blocked for hours early Tuesday, causing heavy congestion during the morning commute time.
It was a “large-scale response,” said Officer David Baldwin, spokesman for the Marietta Police Department, which assisted the Cobb Police Department in the investigation Tuesday.
“Our hearts really go out to the family members and victims involved in this shooting,” Baldwin said.
FedEx released a prepared statement Tuesday afternoon.
“We can confirm that an incident occurred early Tuesday morning at a FedEx Ground facility in Kennesaw, Ga.,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected, and with their families and friends. We are grateful for the assistance of law enforcement. 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.”
Police chief: Active-shooter training comes into play
Cobb Police Chief John Houser commended the officers who responded to the scene for doing an outstanding job, from the Sheriff’s Department and Kennesaw State University police, to the Kennesaw Police Department, Marietta Police Department and a number of other agencies outside the county that responded.
“We have been conducting active-shooter training in our department for a number of years, and we saw the fruits of our labor this morning,” Houser said. “It was a well-oiled machine. The officers did exactly what they were trained to do and without that immediate response, the scene could have certainly been much worse.”
As police chief, Houser said he will continue to ensure the officers are trained and prepared.
“We are acquiring additional personal protection equipment for our officers, i.e., some heavier armor and ballistic helmets,” Houser said. “In addition to that, we have issued patrol rifles. We are buying more so that every officer in the department has a patrol rifle. So we’re providing that additional equipment. There’s not an officer within the Cobb County police department that has a problem with putting themselves in harm’s way in these situations, and we owe it to them to get the equipment they need to be successful in their jobs.”