LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (CN) – Managers at a FedEx distribution center in Kennesaw, Georgia were aware that an employee was mentally unstable, but failed to take steps to prevent him from shooting six of his coworkers last year, a lawsuit filed by one of the wounded claims.
Security guard Christopher Alan Sparkman sued FedEx in the Gwinnett County Superior Court on May 4. The 35-page complaint describes in detail the alleged warning signs exhibited by shooter Geddy Kramer during his nine-month employment at with the global package delivery firm.
Sparkman claims that after being hired by FedEx, Kramer “exhibited threatening and dangerous behavior toward other FedEx employees, along with emotional and mental instability on multiple instances that would cause an ordinary, reasonable person or employer to believe that Kramer was violent and dangerous to himself and others and was likely to commit the foreseeable and preventable shooting of six people on April 29, 2014.”
At 5:53 a.m. that morning, Kramer arrived at the FedEx distribution center in Kennesaw dressed in all black military-style attire and shot Sparkman, who was at the exterior guard station, in the abdomen with 12-gauge shotgun at point-blank range. He shot five other people before committing suicide.
Sparkman says that in the wake of the shooting, he has undergone 47 surgeries and has incurred $3 million in medical expenses. He was an employee of private security company Allied Barton Security Services, a FedEx contractor, the complaint says.
FedEx hired Kramer as a part-time package handler in July 2013, at the suggestion of his childhood friend and FedEx employee Lucas Dziedvic. He signed a “Workplace Violence Prevention Program” form.
FedEx is a certified business under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism Mechanism, or C-TPAT, which was federally implemented in the wake of 9/11. Under the C-TPAT guidelines, “any risk events are required to be logged and assessed for their risk potential.”
But according to the complaint, FedEx ignored the warning signs that arose in the week leading up to the shooting.
Five days before the shooting, FedEx employee Liza Aiken complained to Sean Fajay, her FedEx manager, that Kramer “was pointing a laser beam from a handheld scanning device into Aiken’s eyes causing Aiken to become fearful and uncomfortable.”
Kramer was only given a reprimand, the complaint says.
On the day of the shooting, Kramer sent a text message to Dziedvic “stating that he was unhappy with his work and other employees of FedEx and stating he had a plan but ‘it’s secret.'”
“Defendant FedEx employee Lucas Dziedvic replied to Kramer, ‘[w]ell, if it involves shooting everyone at FedEx, can you at least tell me what day not to come in?'” the complaint says.
Since the shooting, Dziedvic has said that “Geddy would always joke around about shooting up his workplace.”
“These incidents and former threats [were] not reported as mandated by FedEx and the C-TPAT policies adopted by FedEx,” the complaint says.
“Despite Defendant FedEx’s superior actual or constructive knowledge of Geddy Kramer’s threats and dangerous actions derived from its own employee Lucas Dziedvic that Geddy Kramer was going to commit the shooting that [led] to the injuries to Chris,” the complaint says, “Defendant FedEx took no steps to prevent it from occurring, warning Chris or anyone else, even though FedEx had notice of same.”
When interviewed by M.L. Owen of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department after the shooting, Fajay said that Kramer “sort of had an attitude problem” and “seemed not all there.”
Fajay went on to tell law enforcement that Kramer “has even honestly just told me a couple of times he felt like he was going crazy. And I didn’t say anything. I didn’t tell anybody. And I guess I did today, man.”
Fajay also claimed he had planned to “write up” Kramer on the day of the shooting due to poor work attendance.
Kramer, Fajay said, was “just a maniac” who “was showing up with a bad attitude toward everybody.” Fajay also said that Kramer told him he was hearing voices.
According to the complaint, “Fajay stated that Kramer had previously ‘said before something about voices talking to him and then the voices would stop’ and that Kramer stated he had insomnia and ‘some kind of brain damage from that.'”
Sparkman was rushed to WellStar Hospital in Marietta, where he was operated on twice and placed in a medically-induced coma. He was on life support for more than a week.
The complaint claims FedEx has “repeatedly but inaccurately reported to the media that FedEx has provided or continues to provide from FedEx assistance to Plaintiff Chris Sparkman, who was the most grievously injured.”
Sparkman says as a result of the shooting, he has been unable to work and perform his household duties, which has affected his marriage with his wife, Jamie Lynn Sparkman, who is also listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
He is seeking punitive damages for premises liability and negligence, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, retention and supervision and loss of consortium.
Sparkman is represented by Atlanta-based attorneys Louis Levenson and Cory Barnwell.
In an email to Courthouse News, Meredith Heighington Miller, manager for FedEx Ground Public Relations, said the company remains “deeply sympathetic to Mr. Sparkman and his family.
“The tragic and unexpected events that occurred in Marietta a year ago were traumatic for many people, but were not caused by FedEx. Our top priority continues to be providing a safe and secure work environment,” Miller said.
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