Sheriff says gunman, 3 others dead after shootings in Kansas

HESSTON, Kan. -- A sheriff in south-central Kansas said Thursday that four people, including a gunman, are dead after a series of shootings at a business, its parking lot and two streets nearby.

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Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said at a news conference that all the dead were shot inside Excel Industries, a plant in Hesston that makes lawn mower products. He said 14 were injured in the shootings.

Law enforcement officers killed the gunman, who worked at the plant, after he began shooting at them, Walton said.

Before driving to the plant, the man fired from his vehicle, the sheriff said.

The shooting comes less than a week after authorities say a man opened fire at several locations in Kalamazoo, Michigan, leaving six people dead and two severely wounded.

Martin Espinoza, who works at Excel, was in the plant during the shooting. He heard people yelling to others to get out of the building, then heard popping, then saw the shooter, a co-worker he described as typically pretty calm.

Espinoza told The Associated Press the shooter pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun was empty. At that point, the shooter got a different gun and Martin took off running.

"I looked right at him and he looked right at me," Espinoza said.

KSN-TV footage showed a large law enforcement presence at Excel Industries and at least one person being loaded into an ambulance. A college nearby was briefly locked down.

Hesston is a community of about 3,700 residents about 35 miles north of Wichita. 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.

Walton said the FBI and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation had been called in to assist.

A spokeswoman for the Kansas City office of the FBI did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday night.

"This is just a horrible incident. ... There's going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over," Walton said.

Associated Press writers John Hanna in Topeka, Kansas, and Maria Fisher in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.


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