Three people were killed and another 14 injured after a gunman opened fire in a small city in Kansas, indiscriminately shooting people along a highway and at his workplace, a lawn mower factory, before he was fatally shot by authorities, police said.
The mass shooting — which came just five days after a gunman killed six people while driving around Kalamazoo, Mich., in an apparently random rampage — shook the blue-collar community of Hesston and the manufacturing plant where the gunman was said to have worked.
According to Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton, the gunman, carrying a “assault type long gun,” shot 15 people inside Excel Industries, 35 miles north of Wichita, killing three before he was taken down by a lone “hero” law enforcement official. Two other people were shot and injured by the gunman as he drove toward the plant.
Walton did not identify the gunman, but a law enforcement source who asked not to be identified and two employees who witnessed the shooting told The Washington Post that the suspected attacker was Cedric Ford, who worked on the plant’s paint line and who co-workers said was worried about being fired.
Ford, 38, has a history of run-ins with the law, including a recent alleged assault on a live-in girlfriend, and his Facebook page reflected a fondness for guns, cars and children.
ABC News, citing two unnamed law enforcement sources, also named Ford, as did Reuters, CNN, the Wichita Eagle and KWCH, a local television station.
The bloodshed began just before 5 p.m. Thursday, when police received a report about a man in the nearby community of Newton who was shot in the shoulder while in his truck, Walton said. Fast on its heels came another report of someone who had been shot in the leg; the gunman took that person’s vehicle — his own had veered off the road — and continued toward the Excel plant, firing as he drove.
Fellow workers were in the middle of an otherwise routine factory shift. (Courtesy Washington Post)