Random Shooting Was Unexpected, Witnesses Say
Published July 30, 1999 in Whoa!

ATLANTA -- The shooting spree that left nine people dead on Thursday was "a total surprise" to witnesses, according to testimony.

See also...
... by Jeff Diehl
... in the Whoa! section
... from July 30, 1999

"I was just sitting at my desk, checking my email, when the shots went off," said Brenda Winthrop, 23, an administrative assistant in a nearby office. "At that moment, I was not thinking to myself: 'I wonder if gunshots are about to go off.'"

People who had never met the gunman, Mark O. Barton, 44, said the picture they saw of him on the Internet and television was that of a "regular guy."

"I failed to see any satanic tattoos on his face," said Rich Monty, 32, a jobless man who'd come to the scene of the tragedy to see if he could get some media attention.

Supporting the theory that no one predicted Barton was going to kill nine people on Thursday are police reports which say that there is very little evidence that Barton was going to kill nine people on Thursday.

"We have reason to believe that there were absolutely no chunks of brain or other tissue matter on the clothing of Mark Barton as he entered the building to kill his victims," said Sergeant Orvill Cooper of the Atlanta Police Department.

"If there had been," Orvill continued, "that would have shown that he'd killed other people recently, and would have been a tip-off that he might do it again real soon. But then, the first killing he'd done would probably have been equally as unexpected, which brings us around full circle.

"I think it's becoming more clear to everyone just how complex and confusing this case actually is."