Updated: February 26, 2016 11:30 AM ET
A 38-year-old man who shot and killed three people and injured more than a dozen at a Hesston, Kansas manufacturing plant on Thursday, fired his weapon at any “target that came across his sights,” the sheriff told reporters Friday at a morning conference.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton identified the shooter as Cedric Larry Ford. He said the FBI, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were aiding the investigation, writes The New York Times.
About 90 minutes before the shooting rampage, Ford reportedly received an abuse protection order intended for victims of domestic violence, the report says. Investigators are looking at the court order as a possible motive for the shooting, Walton said, writes The Times:
Around 200 and 300 people were still at work at Excel Industries when the gunman, who was believed to be an employee at the factory, opened fire in the building. The shooting went on until a police officer with the Hesston Police Department shot and killed the gunman.
“If he wouldn’t have stopped that,” Sheriff Walton said of the officer, “not all of those people would’ve come out and this tragedy would’ve been a lot greater.”
A Facebook profile for Mr. Ford listed his occupation as a painter at Excel Industries and contained several photos that portrayed a doting father. “Daddy big boy,” Mr. Ford captioned a photo that showed him holding a little boy in January. An accompanying photo with a little girl showed a similar caption: “Daddy baby.”
From the New York Daily News:
The tattooed suspect’s social media shows a mixture of family pictures of trips to the zoo and videos where he sings and dances along to hip-hop music or spraying bullets into an empty field.
A handgun is also seen in some photos, including one where the pistol and a bottle of gin are sitting in what appears to be Ford’s car.
Ford had a long criminal history, including burglary, grand theft, prowling and fleeing from police, according to KWCH.
A shooting event that broke out early Thursday evening in Central Kansas has resulted in several people dead with dozens of others injured. The shooting took place at a workplace and the gunman has been killed, local news outlet KWCH reports.
In a case that is still developing, the Wichita Eagle reports that Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton confirmed to reporters that officers took down 38-year-old Cedric Ford, an employee at Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas, which is 35 miles north of Wichita.
Preliminary reports stated that between four and seven people were killed and around 20 persons injured. New reports suggest that as many as 30 could be injured. Sheriff Walton told reporters at a news conference that he could not provide an exact number.
From the Wichita Eagle:
“This is just a horrible incident here,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over.”
The shooting at Excel Industries was reported shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, a Harvey County dispatcher said.
Walton later confirmed that a suspect, an employee at the turf care products manufacturer, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. The shooter, a Harvey County resident, was armed with a long rifle and a handgun, according to Walton.
Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita received seven victims from the shooting, according to a spokeswoman. She said that five victims were in serious condition and two were in fair condition.
As authorities scramble to secure up to four crime scenes and restore calm to the region, details about Ford continue to emerge. KWCH reported that Ford, a resident of Newton, listed his profession as a painter on his Facebook page. The station also obtained video of Ford from the social network site that showed him brandishing firearms.
Around 8:00 PM local time, the station reported that SWAT officers stormed what is believed to be the home of Ford and ordered the occupants to come outside with their hands raised.
The Newton Medical Center was put on lockdown due to the police activity. The Excel Industries facility will be closed Friday.
As this story develops, we’ll return with updates.