(HESSTON, Kan.) — Cedric Larry Ford, who allegedly killed three people and injured 14 others Thursday before police killed him, had been served shortly before with a restraining order meant to keep him away from a former girlfriend, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton says.
Walton says investigators still have many interviews to conduct but, at this point, his domestic troubles may have been a trigger.
The shooting occurred in a Kansas workplace, along with two other locations, authorities said.
Ford, 38 and a Newton resident, was an employee at Excel Industries, one of the scenes, Walton said in a news conference Thursday.
Police said the shooter fired from his car and shot people at two nearby locations before unleashing a hail of bullets in the factory, hitting at least 14 people, and killing three of them.
Ford later died in a gun battle when a police officer shot him despite taking fire.
“I’m really saddened by this horrific event,” Excel CEO Paul Mullet said. “My heart goes out to all of the employees, all of their families.”
At least 14 people were hospitalized, six at Via Christi Hospital, four at Wesley Hospital and four at Newton Medical Center, Walton said.
Five victims are in critical condition, one person is undergoing surgery and eight are in stable condition, the sheriff said.
Walton said the carnage began about 5 p.m. when the gunman opened fire from his vehicle in a location nearby Excel.
He hit two vehicles, injuring one person. After that, he went to another location near Highway 81, where he shot a person in the leg, police said.
From there, he drove to the plant, which manufactures heavy-duty lawn care equipment, and opened fire before being killed by police. Police said he was using a long gun that uses .223 caliber bullets. It was unclear what type.
Police said he was also believed to have been carrying a pistol.
Investigators are unclear on what the shooter’s motive was, but Walton said it was “not terrorism.”
There was only one shooter involved, Walton said.
A witness who works in the welding department said the shooter was firing off rounds as he chased Excel Industries employees who were screaming, “Fire! Fire!”
“I thought it was a fire, explosions,” Marty Pierce told ABC affiliate KAKE-TV in Wichita. “I didn’t know someone was shooting.”
Pierce said a co-worker who looked in a hallway to investigate was shot in the leg. The 15 to 20 people who were in his department escaped through a side door, he said.
The Newton Police Department also said it entered Ford’s home after receiving conflicting reports that someone was inside.
“We had to act as if there were other victims or someone else inside who wanted to do harm,” Lt. Brian Hall of the Newton Police Department said. “We tried to make contact for hours and eventually had to force entry into the home. There was no one inside.”
Hall did not elaborate on what was found in the home.
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