RAMPAGE IN CONNECTICUT: THE OVERVIEW; Connecticut Lottery Worker Kills 4 Bosses, Then Himself
By Jonathan Rabinovitz
March 7, 1998
Angered about a salary dispute and his failure to win a promotion, a Connecticut Lottery accountant reported promptly to his job this morning, hung up his coat and then methodically stabbed and gunned down four of his bosses, one of whom he chased through a parking lot, before turning the gun on himself.
As the shots rang out through the hallways of the lottery headquarters here in this quiet Hartford suburb, witnesses and the police said, dozens of employees, some yelling, ”Run to the woods,” headed into the brushy hillside surrounding the office while others dived into nearby ditches.
The gunman, Matthew Beck, 35, had walked into the executive offices, stabbed and shot one top official and shot two others — saying ”bye-bye” to one of them — and then chased the State Lottery president, Otho R. Brown, several hundred yards into a parking lot. Mr. Brown, 54, stumbled as he ran, the police said, and just as officers arrived on the scene, they saw Mr. Beck fire a semiautomatic handgun at the executive, killing him immediately.
Within seconds, as two Newington police detectives approached Mr. Beck, he put the gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, to his right temple and shot himself, said John Connelly, the head of the state police.
In addition to Mr. Brown, the other victims were three of the most senior managers at the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, a quasi-public authority: Linda Mlynarczyk, 37, chief financial officer, of New Britain; Frederick Rubelmann 3d, 40, vice president of operations, of Southington, and Michael Logan, 33, information systems manager, of Colchester.
During the last few months, there had been strong indications that Mr. Beck was troubled. He had been granted a leave of absence in October for stress-related problems and was undergoing medical treatment, state officials said. Before the leave, they said, he had been upset about orders that he perform data processing and install software, tasks that were not in his job description and that would usually come under another position that paid $2 an hour more per hour than his $20-an-hour accounting job.
Mr. Beck filed a grievance in August and won the first round of the case in January when an arbitrator ruled that he had taken on responsibilities that were beyond his job description. When he returned to work on Feb. 25 from his medical leave, he was still waiting to see whether he would receive back pay and, if approved, how much it would be.
During Mr. Beck’s absence, the higher-paying position had been filled, and after nine years working for the lottery without a promotion, Mr. Beck was upset that he had been passed over, co-workers said.
”He was always angry about not being promoted,” Angela Bentley, his supervisor, said in a telephone interview this evening. ”He used to talk about how they treated him unfairly.”
Joseph Mudry, the shop steward for Mr. Beck’s unit of the Administrative and Residual Employees Union, said that Mr. Beck had been trying to transfer to another state agency without success. Mr. Beck had called him Thursday morning, the second time this week, to check in and seemed calm, Mr. Mudry added, though the head of personnel had said she was concerned about him last Friday, Mr. Mudry said.
Mr. Beck arrived at the office as it opened about 8 A.M., having made his 40-minute drive from his home in Ledyard. About 8:30, he showed up at an office where Ms. Mlynarczyk was meeting with several employees and discussing some new software, said Karen Kalandyk, who was at the meeting, She said Mr. Beck stood in an open doorway and directly faced Ms. Mlynarczyk. ”All of a sudden, he put his arm up and we saw the gun,” Ms. Kalandyk said. ”He just aimed the gun right at her, he said, ‘Bye-bye,’ and he shot her three times.”
Ms. Bentley recalled seeing him at his desk around 8:30 in blue jeans and a jacket. She went to get coffee, she said, and after returning, she heard gunshots.
She ran out into the hallway and people were yelling, ”Get out of here,” she recalled. At that point she ran into Mr. Brown in the hallway and asked him what was happening. ”I don’t know,” she said he told her, and the two of them kept running.
Marion Tercyak, a lottery accountant, was with them as they ran out of the building. Mr. Brown ”pushed her out the door and said, ‘Just run!’ ” recounted her brother, Peter, who spoke to her this morning. Mr. Beck, a former cross-country runner who was in good shape, ”was sprinting after them,” Mr. Tercyak said his sister told him.
At least one employee said that Mr. Brown ran toward a parking lot of a neighboring high school football field to draw the gunman away from other employees, and he appeared to know that Mr. Beck was after him.
”He looked over his shoulder,” Mr. Tercyak recalled his sister saying.
But Mr. Brown could not escape; a dead end was in front of him, Ms. Bentley said. ”Ott fell down and Matt went over and shot him,” she said.
In the woods and buildings nearby, employees were crying, huddling on the ground and hugging one another. Some had run as far as a half-mile in the panic to escape.
One employee, Shannon O’Neill, was quoted on WFSB-TV in Hartford as saying that Mr. Brown had sacrificed himself to divert Mr. Beck from others. ”I think Mr. Brown was a hero because I think he saved a lot of lives today,” she said.
Mr. Tercyak said that his sister had known that Mr. Beck was troubled and had talked with other workers about his being dangerous. ”My sister said that people had talked before this happened about how this is the kind of thing where people crack and shoot someone,” he said.
The police would not say whether Mr. Beck had a license for the gun.
Mr. Beck, who made $45,214 a year, had recently moved into his parents’ home in Ledyard, where he had graduated from high school, and it appears that he had been struggling with serious depression.
His father, Donald, described his son as troubled. In January, when he was living in Cromwell, Conn., the police had been called to his apartment because he was apparently holding a knife to his throat. Capt. Tom Roohr of the Cromwell police said that Mr. Beck was not there when they arrived, but that the caller, whom Captain Roohr declined to identify, had said that Mr. Beck had tried to commit suicide once before.
The police said they had no information on Mr. Beck’s having committed any crimes. Mayor Wesley Johnson Sr. of Ledyard said he could not find a pistol permit for Mr. Beck. But his father said he had one.
Before his state employment, which began in 1989, Matthew Edward Beck worked as a security officer at Globe Security Systems in Norwich and as a taxpayer service representative for the Internal Revenue Service.
Union officials said Mr. Beck had been a steady employee who had rarely missed work and had worked overtime without complaining. Mr. Mudry described him as someone who liked golf and followed University of Connecticut basketball. He was of average height, about 5 feet 8 inches, and slim. He did little to stand out, except when he shaved his head a year ago, Mr. Mudry said.
A college graduate, he was clearly bright. ”He was a genius,” Ms. Bentley, his supervisor, said.
In this morning’s rampage, Mr. Beck first stabbed Mr. Logan, who had denied Mr. Beck his grievance in a first hearing last year. Mr. Connelly said that Mr. Logan also was apparently shot.
Mr. Beck then walked into an adjacent area and shot Ms. Mlynarczyk, with whom he had met a week ago to discuss his new duties, and Mr. Rubelmann, to whom Mr. Beck had once appealed for help. Ms. Mlynarczyk was shot three times, an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said, and was found dead, in a seated position, with her face on a conference table in a front office.
The Newington police were called at 8:46 A.M. and said that Mr. Beck’s victims were already dead. Mr. Beck was flown by helicopter to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Gov. John G. Rowland visited the lottery headquarters shortly after the shooting and embraced employees. He had known personally two of the victims, Mr. Brown and Ms. Mlynarczyk, who had been the Mayor of New Britain and had campaigned for the Governor.
Mr. Rowland ordered that state flags be kept at half staff through Monday, and state officials said lottery headquarters would be closed Monday, reopening Tuesday. The two lottery drawings scheduled today were postponed until Saturday, and ticket sales for on-line games were suspended this afternoon, to resume Saturday morning.Connecticut Lottery Corp accountant Matthew Beck, angered about salary dispute and lack of promotion, reports to work and methodically stabs and shoots to death four of his bosses before killing self, Newington, Conn; kills senior managers Linda Mlynarczyk, Frederick Rubelmann 3d and Michael Logan and then chases Lottery president Otho R Brown into parking lot and kills him; witness says Brown drew Beck away from other fleeing workers; map; photos (L)
Where’d They Get Their Guns?
An Analysis of the Firearms Used in High-Profile Shootings, 1963 to 2001
Date: March 6, 1998
Location: Connecticut State Lottery Headquarters, Newington, Connecticut
Alleged Shooter: Matthew Beck
People Killed: Five (shooter committed suicide)
People Injured: None
Firearm(s): 9mm pistol
Beck had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals and had attempted suicide several times in the past. He had been on “stress related” leave from work at the lottery for several months, and was feuding with his boss over back pay and other issues. On March 6, 1998, he walked into the lottery headquarters and shot four top lottery officials including his boss, before killing himself.
How Firearm(s) Acquired
Despite his history of mental problems, Beck had been a legal gun owner for years. Beck had been issued a permit for the 9mm pistol used in the shooting.
- “CT Shooting,” All Things Considered, 6 March 1998.
- Blaine Harden, “Worker Kills Four at Conn. Lottery; Accountant Shoots Executives, Self,” The Washington Post, 7 March 1998, sec. A, p. 1.
- Ric Kahn, “Shootings Put Microscope on Holes in Conn. Gun Law,” The Boston Globe, 10 March 1998, sec. B, p. 2.
All contents пїЅ 2001 Violence Policy CenterWhere’d They Get Their Guns? An Analysis of the Firearms Used in High-Profile Shootings, 1963 to 2001 Date: March 6, 1998 Location: Connecticut State Lottery Headquarters, Newington, ]]>