Tragedy strikes Alabama

Published 8:45 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A shooting spanning Coffee and Geneva counties that has made its mark as the worst single-gunman incident in Alabama history has taken a toll on some of Pike County’s own.

From law enforcement investigations to residents losing co-workers, county residents have been affected by the small-towns incident.

Pike County District Attorney Gary McAliley, who is also the district attorney in Coffee County, has certainly had a large part to play in the investigation of the shooting by Michael McClendon, of Kinston.

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“We were in Montgomery where we had gone to see the legislature to see if we could get money for the transport of bodies to forensic science,” McAliley said.

But it wasn’t long after that before McAliley would experience something unlike anything he had done in his 33 years in law enforcement.

“We learned this happened, and we flew down here immediately,” McAliley said.

And, from there, investigations quickly began for this law

enforcement official, working to uncover motive that led to mass murders.

“We found a list of people he worked with who had ‘done him wrong,’” McAliley said. “That was very important because it showed motive.

“His mother had been terminated from her job. He had just resigned at his place of employment. We found a list of bills and how he was going to try to repay them,” McAliley said.

Also in McClendon’s home, McAliley said law enforcement found military equipment scattered through the house, ranging from medical supplies to camping equipment, as well as an empty gun case and ammunition boxes all over the floor.

McAliley said the shooter was not a member of the military but he had worked for the Samson Police Department for a short time in 2003.

Now the local DA continues to uncover and investigate more into this matter,

No other local law enforcement assisted with the incident, though McAliley said the Pike County Sheriff’s Department did offer aide.

“Sheriff Thomas said he would send as many as he could, but since the fellow who did this was dead, I didn’t ask him to,” McAliley said.

But Springhill resident Frank Talbot, procurement manager for Brooks Peanuts, lost one of his coworkers in the shooting Tuesday.

“He had clocked out yesterday afternoon, got in his truck and headed east on Highway 52, and the guy ran into the back of him and shot him,” Talbot said, of coworker Bruce Wilson Malloy.

“He kept us running, and we’re going to miss him.”

And this incident has left Talbot in shock of just what happened in the small Alabama town.

“When I left Samson this morning, I went by that Big Little Store and it was sobering to look to see where those bodies were outlined,” Talbot said.

“That’s something you don’t see in Alabama much, and it has that town really shook up.”

“I have got to know those people quite well over the last couple years and just like Troy and Brundidge they are good old Alabama folks, and one of their own started killing.”