(HESSTON, Kan.) — Cedric Larry Ford– who allegedly killed three people and injured 14 others Thursday in Hesston, Kansas 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 said.
The temporary order of protection from abuse was served at Excel Industries — where the suspect worked — and the scene of the final and deadly shooting.
In the temporary order of protection from abuse, the woman, whose name is not being published by ABC News, wrote that she and Ford were living together but broke up. He was moving out.
She wrote that on Feb. 5, she and Ford “were verbally fighting” when “it became physical by him pushing me and then grabbing me.”
“He placed me in a chokehold from behind,” she wrote, saying that she couldn’t breathe. “He then got me to ground while choking me—finally releasing me.”
The woman describes Ford as an “alcoholic,” “violent” and “depressed,” according to the order of protection from abuse.
Walton said Ford, 38, a Newton resident, was served with the order about 90 minutes before the first shooting, at about 3:30 p.m.
“It’s normal when someone gets served a protection of abuse order” to be upset, Walton said this morning, explaining that Ford’s behavior wasn’t abnormal when he was served.
Walton told ABC News that investigators still have many interviews to conduct but, at this point, Fords’s domestic troubles appear to have possibly been a trigger for the shootings.
Ford died in a gun battle when a police officer shot him despite taking fire. Walton said Friday Ford would have kept shooting if a police officer had not stopped him.
The three people killed were identified Friday as: Renee Benjamin, 30; Joshua Higbee, 31; and Brian Sadowsky, 44.
Fourteen were hospitalized.
Before the deadly shooting at Excel Industries, a plant which manufactures heavy-duty lawn care equipment, Ford also allegedly fired shot in two other areas, authorities said. The three shootings covered a range of about 6 miles and lasted a span of about 24 minutes, Walton said Friday.
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, authorities said.
From there, he took the victim’s car and drove to the plant, where he opened fire before being killed by police. Authorities said Ford had an assault rifle and a pistol.
Investigators are unclear on the shooter’s motive, but Walton said it was “not terrorism.” But he did say there were “some things that triggered this particular individual.”
“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.”
Mullet said Friday the company is fully cooperating with the investigation.
The Newton Police Department also said it entered Ford’s home there 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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