Gunman kills up to four in Kansas shooting spree

HESSTON, KANSAS, United States (Reuters) — An employee killed up to four people and wounded as many as 20 others in a shooting spree that ended at his work site in Hesston, Kansas, on Thursday (February 25) where he was shot and killed by authorities, the local sheriff told reporters.

The gunman appears to have opened fire at three locations before entering the building of a lawnmower manufacturer where he worked, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said at a news conference.

The shooter, identified by a dispatcher with the Sheriff’s Office as 38-year-old Cedric Ford, began his attacks at about 5 p.m. local time (2300 GMT) in the town of Newton, where a man driving a truck was shot in the shoulder, Walton said.

Soon after, the suspect shot a person in the leg on another street on the way to his worksite at Excel Industries in Hesston, less than 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Newton, where he opened fire again in the parking lot, Walton said.

The gunman entered Excel Industries and continued his shooting spree, the sheriff said.

The shooter killed three or four people, and wounded as many as 20 others before he was killed by authorities, the sheriff said.

“My daughter works second shift along with her boyfriend and my niece. They all work here. Immediately we grabbed everything that we had just to hurry up and get here. And I called the rest of my family and there here just waiting, wondering what, if everybody’s ok. If anybody, even if we don’t know them, they’re still part of the Excel family and we just want everybody to be ok, but seeing this, the impact, the whole community is here ,” the woman, who did not give her name, told NBC.

The series of shootings about 35 miles (60 km) north of Wichita come less than a week after a Michigan man who worked as a driver for car-hailing service Uber was charged with killing six people during a shooting rampage.

A number of mass shootings in the United States have elevated gun control as a campaign issue in the November U.S. presidential election.

A spokesman for the local Via Christi Hospital St. Francis said they have taken in six patients from the shooting, with five in serious condition and one in fair condition.

Wesley Medical Center is treating three patients, said the facility’s spokeswoman Susan Burchill. She had no further details.

An employee at the business told NBC that he was just steps away from the shooter before he made his escape.

“People started screaming coming out saying go to the front, go to the front. And everybody turned about and said no he’s out front so everybody started going to the back right over here. And then, but yeah, me and my boss and the other employee we worked with. we was just standing back there. We really didn’t know what was going on.”