SAMSON, Ala. (WDHN)—There’s hardly a day that goes by when we don’t hear about another “mass shooting”.
One community here in the wiregrass knows all too well what shooting victims’ families are going through.

Tonight, we take you back to March 10th, 2009 when Michael McClendon drove through Samson indiscriminately shooting people, killing ten before taking his own life.

On that day, McClendon killed his mother in Kinston, set fire to her home, and then drove through nearby Samson with two “high powered” rifles. In less than 30-minutes,
he will have killed nine others at gas stations, houses, and other drivers before
being surrounded by Reliable Metals in Geneva, that’s where he would take his own life.

“At that time there was not a whole lot of training for active shooters. It was just starting to come to the forefront, but now that’s something we’re trained on and trained in the academy on,” according to Geneva County Sheriff Tony Helms.

Mcclendon was described as a “quiet man who failed in joining the military, and later “failed” in becoming a law enforcement officer. Sheriff Helms was the chief deputy at the sheriff’s office and was awarded by the state for his heroism in stopping the suspect by engaging him in a gun battle.

Sheriff Helms says “we had crime scenes stretched throughout Samson, several different crime scenes throughout Samson. Several here in Geneva. It really stretched resources thin there. We were dealing with a lot of grieving people.”

Mike Gurspan says “Geneva County NAACP President Reverand James Ruttlen of Samson remembers all too well the tragedy.”

Reverand Ruttlen says “we experienced a lot of today what they are experiencing with their mass shootings. We had 11 people gunned down in our town.”

Samson business owner Sandra Merchant says “what do you remember that tragic day? I remember some girls parking in front, running in, and hollering. It was just so unreal. We went in the back until it was over.”

Reporting in Samson, Mike Gurspan WDHN News for the Wiregrass.