2009
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Alabama Shooting Victims Obituary


The victims of the worst mass shooting in Alabama history included members of the gunman's family and passers-by apparently targeted at random.

They ranged in age from the 18-month-old daughter of his uncle's neighbor to gunman Michael McLendon's 74-year-old grandmother. There was a stay-at-home mother and a young family man trying to make ends meet.

Below are the stories of those killed in the rampage:

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LISA WHITE McLENDON

The gunman's 52-year-old mother lived with her son in a one-story house in Kinston. She had recently been suspended from her job at a poultry plant, and was found dead in the charred home.

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JAMES ALFORD WHITE

The 55-year-old uncle of the gunman loved gardening and playing with his grandchildren. He was on his front porch when he was gunned down. Since retiring as city superintendent of Samson a few years ago, he was often seen tending the vegetable patch in his yard.

"There wasn't a time I went by Alford's house when we didn't stick up our hands and wave to each other or stop and talk to each other," said childhood friend and neighbor Archie Mock.

White was always willing to lend a hand or sit and chat on the porch with a glass of iced tea, said Tom Knowles, whose son lived next door to White.

"He was just, in general, a guy that would help you if he could help you," Knowles said.

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VIRGINIA E. WHITE

The gunman's 74-year-old grandmother lived in a mobile home on the lot next to a home where five people were shot and killed. Authorities said she was shot when she opened the door to her dwelling after Michael McLendon began shooting at those on the porch.

Horace Beagles, a neighbor of the Whites', described Virginia White as "a real nice person, really easy going, just an all around good person."

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TRACY MICHELLE WISE

McLendon's 34-year-old cousin was shot while visiting on her father's porch. She was a former assistant city clerk and magistrate for Samson.

Beagles said Wise suffered from poor health, which forced her to retire several years ago. But her illness didn't dampen her spirits.

"She was just a nice person," he said. "Just like her daddy, she'd help you if she could."

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DEAN JAMES WISE

The 15-year-old high school student was Tracy Wise's only son. He was also shot on his grandfather's porch. Knowles said the shooting happened too fast for anyone to fight back.

"They had no time to react," Knowles said.

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ANDREA D. MYERS

The 31-year-old was a loving mother who was married to a deputy who happened to be involved in the pursuit of McLendon. She was visiting her across-the-street neighbors when she was shot and killed on their porch. She met her husband Josh, currently a Geneva County Sheriff's deputy, while the two were both firefighters in Kansas. The couple moved to Alabama, where he had grown up, in 2007.

"She was a super mom," said Josh Myers of his wife, who spent days at home with her three children.Their youngest, 3-month-old Ella, was wounded in the leg and was in fair condition Wednesday, and her 4-year-old son was found unharmed by a family friend hiding in the Myers' home after the shooting.

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CORINNE GRACY MYERS

The 18-month-old daughter of the Myers was shot and killed with her mother on the Whites' porch.

"My baby girl was just the sweetest thing in the world," Josh Myers said. "I feel like I should be able to walk in the house and my wife would be there, my baby girl climbing on me."

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JAMES IRVIN STARLING

The 24-year-old retail employee in Samson dreamed of working in Hollywood. The father of two was shot and killed while taking a shortcut on foot to his sister-in-law's house near Samson.

The movie buff who worked at Dollar General in Samson wanted to one day be a Hollywood mogul, said his father, Thomas Starling.

"He was always fascinated by movies, but he had to go to five years of school to do that, and I just couldn't afford it," Thomas Starling said.

The younger Starling earned As and Bs in high school while playing football and baseball. He got a grant to go to college, and his father gave him some money, but it still proved too costly.

Starling and his wife of two years, Elizabeth, had two daughters, ages 2 and 5, and were expecting another child.

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SONJA SMITH

The 43-year-old victim was described as a "terrific mother, a very smart person." She was shot and killed at the Inland Gas Station in Samson.

Smith had a daughter, Chelsea, who is now 19, with her ex-husband. Smith's former mother-in-law, Peggy Lee, said she remained close to the mother of her grandchild.

"She was like my daughter. She was a good person, and as far as I know, she never harmed anyone," said Lee. "She could have been anything she wanted to be."

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BRUCE WILSON MALLOY

The 51-year-old "free spirit" and former motorcycle repairman loved racing go-karts. Malloy was in a car on a local highway when he was shot dead.

The head of maintenance at a peanut producer, Malloy had lived in Samson most of his life and was "one of those fixtures in town," said his employer, Barrett Brooks, president of Brooks Peanut Company.

"He was a free spirit," Brooks said. "He always had a smile on his face and a story to tell."

The wiry man was frequently seen driving a trailer out of town on Fridays to go-kart competitions, Brooks said.


Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press





Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press
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