— After driving a truck for about 30 years, Victor James was planning to retire from Hartford Distributors this year.
James, 60, who was among those killed at the company Tuesday, had two adult daughters and four grandchildren. He owned a neat, white Colonial with a deck overlooking a large backyard shaded with hardwoods.
He planned, in his retirement, to work around the house, to fix up a 1974 Chevy Impala in the two-car garage and to enjoy his grandchildren, family members said.
"He had his whole life to look forward to, and then — bang! — it's over," his older brother and only sibling, Robert James, 63, said Tuesday. "Some screwball, some wacko … if that guy was still alive, I'd chase him down. I'm glad he killed himself — piece of [expletive]."
Victor James grew up in Providence, R.I., and as a boy swam competitively for the Olneyville Boys Club, his brother said. Victor tried to sign up with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, but the Navy wouldn't take him, probably because Robert was already serving and the military didn't want one family vulnerable to losing both sons, Robert said.
James's mother, Gloria Wilson, 86, had been living with him in Windsor. Wilson said she had heard about the shootings, and then Robert called with the news that Victor was one of the fatalities.
"I just got praying he wasn't one of them, and he was," she said. "There wasn't a better family man. He loved his children and his grandchildren. He'd take the grandchildren out for movies. He devoted his weekends to them."
Robert James said Victor loved kids in general, because, he would say, "I'm just like one of 'em."
Victor James also was an "old school" delivery man, said Dominic Alaimo, owner of the Freshwater Package Store in Enfield. James was polite and respectful and didn't try to rush his deliveries.
"He was just an old-school guy, not like today. Younger guys today want to get in and get out, but he would take care of his customers first," Alaimo said. "He was just a great guy."
James had told him recently that he was retiring, Alaimo said.
"He was ready to go out, enjoy himself," he said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times