(HESSTON, Kan.) — The man accused of opening fire at a Kansas business and two other locations, killing three people and wounding 14, has been identified as Cedric Larry Ford, 38, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton and several employees said the shooter was an employee at Excel Industries in Hesston, the principal target of the shooting spree. Paul Mullet, the president and CEO of Excel Industries confirmed earlier the gunman was a current employee at the company, which manufactures heavy duty lawn care equipment, but did not mention him by name.
Ford was shot and killed by police during a gun battle with officers, officials said. Police have not officially identified him.
Walton did not cite the motive for the shooting, although he said “there were some things that triggered this incident.”
Prior to Kansas, Ford previously had lived in Miami, Florida, according to a Broward County Sheriff’s Office 2004 arrest record.
According to the record and other government records, he was arrested for violating probation stemming from burglary and grand theft charges. He pleaded no contest in the cases, the records say.
Ford also had arrests dating back to 1996 in Miami-Dade County, including burglary, concealed firearms and battery charges. The disposition of those cases was not clear.
According to the arrest record, Ford had a “Laugh Now Cry Later” tattoo on his right forearm, “No” on his right hand, “Love” on his left hand, “Grim Reaper” on his left forearm, and a Chinese symbol for luck on his neck.
According to the sheriff, four were killed, including Ford, and 14 were wounded in the workplace shooting. Those who were hospitalized were taken to Newton Medical Center, Wesley Hospital and Via Christi Hospital.
Marty Pierce, an Excel Industries employee who witnessed the shooting, says he initially thought the commotion was over a fire in the building — not a shooting.
“I was working in the weld shop…and then some paint people came out and said ‘fire! fire,’ and I thought the place was on fire,” Pierce told KAKE, the ABC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas. “Then I heard ‘pop, pop, pop,’ and most all of us went out of the side door…We got out safely and all kind of scattered.”
Pierce, who says there were between 15 and 20 people in the area where he works at Excel Industries, added that the shooter “ran down the hallway [that connects two facility’s two buildings] and all the paint people were running away from him.”
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