In the middle of the afternoon, an Atlanta day-trader named Mark Barton walked into two securities trading firms in the middle and opened fire. Four people would be killed by his Glock and his Colt at Momentum Securities, and five more at All-Tech Investment Group, before Barton turned his weapon on himself. Police later discovered he had also killed his wife and two children, ages 12 and 10, bludgeoning them to death with a hammer earlier that day. TIME’s cover story looked at the tragic circumstances behind Barton’s rampage, including the $300,000 in failed trades he’d run up in the year leading up to the massacre. Still, the senseless killings raised more questions than they did answers:
As his victims are mourned, the dead murderer’s grim story keeps unfolding, with details of financial folly, maudlin suicide notes, adultery, brutality, suspected fraud, even an earlier set of suspected murders. At a time of increased public anxiety over such shooting sprees, he is a severed Gorgon’s head, freezing onlookers with horrific astonishment. Who was Mark Orrin Barton? Why did he go berserk?