HESSTON, Kan. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities said four people were killed late Thursday in a shooting at a business in south-central Kansas that makes lawn mower products.
Harvey County Sheriff T Walton said 18 people were wounded in the shooting, seven critically.
A Harvey County, Kansas sheriff’s dispatcher said the shooting occurred Thursday afternoon at Excel Industries in Hesston. The dispatcher, who would not give her name, said authorities were still at the scene Thursday evening.
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The shooter was identified by law enforcement sources as Cedric Ford, 38, who worked as a painter for Excel. Ford was listed as living in Newton, Kansas, CBS affiliate KWCH-TV, Wichita reported. It was unclear if Ford still worked at Excel at the time of the shooting.
Ford was believed to be the only shooter. Authorities said there may have been some triggers that sparked the violence, but they did not say what those were.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, law enforcement sources said the shooting was workplace violence, and was not terror related.
Walton said the shooter was killed by authorities, 1010 WINS reported. As of 6:45 p.m. Central time — 7:45 p.m. in New York — Walton said the scene at Excel Industries had been secured, however authorities said at a press conference that there were “a number of crime scenes involved.”
Employees frantically ran into the arms of loved ones, as they were reunited following a terrifying day at work.
“I seen a guy pull up. He stopped and hopped out. I heard him yell something — that’s what got our attention — turned around, hopped out with an AK-47 — appeared like — fired a few shots outside and then ducked down and went into the building,” an employee named Matt said.
Walton said that other attack scenes were located in a parking lot outside the plant and at two other locations. He said the attacks were connected, and that the suspect traveled between the sites, firing from his car.
“I kept hearing a pop-pop, and then I ran over and there was a gentleman, I guess his name was Adam, he’d got shot,” an employee named Dylan said.
Family members quickly arrived at the scene after hearing the news. One woman was reunited with her husband in the middle of an interview.
“He said he’s okay. He said somebody next to him got shot,” she said.
First responders rushed to the scene and carried the injured out on stretchers, as law enforcement officials moved in with high powered rifles to find the active shooter.
Video posted to the gunman’s Facebook page just a few days ago showed him firing what appeared to be an AK-47 into an empty field. Other pictures showed him posing with firearms, and another in another video shows him singing along to a song that says “looking for revenge.”
A reason for the shooting has not been uncovered, but officials were investigating other scenes related to the shooting. They said Ford shot at several vehicles and injured a driver on the way to his workplace.
Hesston is a community of about 3,700 residents about 35 miles north of Wichita.
Hesston College, which is located near the scene of the shooting, was locked down on Thursday night, that was later lifted. The school has about 450 students and is affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA.
Excel Industries was awarded the Governor’s Exporter of the Year award in 2013 from the Kansas Department of Commerce. The company manufactures Hustler and Big Dog mowing equipment and was founded in Hesston in 1960.
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