( 4UMF NEWS ) Gunman Kills Three, Wounds 14:
Three people were killed and 14 others wounded when yet another deranged person with a gun, this time an employee of a Kansas company that makes lawnmowers, opened fire Thursday on his colleagues, authorities said.
The gunman — identified by a TV station as Cedric Ford, 38, of Newton, Kan. — was shot dead after his lethal rampage at Excel Industries in Hesston, 35 miles north of Wichita, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said. Shootings took place in at least four places, Walton said.
Ford’s sickening spree started with an apparently random confrontation a few miles from the Excel plant when he fired, from his car, on a driver just before 5 p.m., police said.
The twisted shooter reportedly stole a car from the second person he targeted before continuing on to Excel. He fired at a victim in the company’s parking lot, then burst into the building and unleashed a torrent of bullets.
The three people who died were all shot inside the factory. Of the 14 wounded, five were in critical condition, according to officials.
Between January 2009 and July 2015, more than 673 people were killed in at least 133 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Everytown For Gun Safety.
“We always talk about, ‘it can’t happen here,’ and everybody says, ‘it can’t happen here,’” Walton said. “But it’s all those places that it happens at and here we are. It happened here.”
The sheriff said the shooter used “a long gun, something like an assault rifle,” during his rampage and also carried a pistol.
The hulking, heavily tattooed gunman has several pictures of himself holding firearms on his Facebook page. In September, Ford posted a video of himself shooting an AK-47 in a field. As recently as Jan. 16, he posted on Facebook that he was “feeling fed up.” The page also featured several pictures of Ford with children. It was unclear if they were his kids.
Records show Ford had a long criminal record in Florida, where he was convicted of burglary, fleeing police, grand theft and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. It was unclear how he acquired the weapons used Thursday.
Excel employee Martin Espinoza came face-to-face with the killer, who pointed a weapon at him and fired — but the gun was empty. Ford, described by Espinoza as typically pretty calm, then grabbed a different gun and ran off.
“I looked right at him and he looked right at me,” Espinoza told The Associated Press.
As Ford made his way through the factory, firing at anyone who got in his way, a police officer entered and confronted him.
“And even though he took fire, he went inside of that place and saved multiple, multiple lives,” Walton said of the cop. “A hero as far as I’m concerned.”
Excel manufactures Hustler and Big Dog mowing equipment and employs 500 people, according to a 2013 profile in The Wichita Eagle.
The senseless carnage came less than a week after a man opened fire in Kalamazoo, Mich., killing six people and severely wounding two others.
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