Cop who killed Kansas gunman a 'tremendous hero'

HESSTON, Kan. -- A man who stormed into a Kansas factory where he worked and shot 15 people, killing three, had just been served with a protective order that probably triggered the attack, authorities said Friday.

See Full Article

The assault at the Excel Industries lawnmower parts plant in the small town of Hesston ended when a police officer killed the gunman during a shootout.

Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton described the officer as a "tremendous hero" because 200 or 300 people were still in the factory and the "shooter wasn't done by any means."

"Had that Hesston officer not done what he did, this would be a whole lot more tragic," Walton said.

The sheriff identified the gunman as Cedric Ford, a 38-year-old plant worker who had several convictions in Florida over the last decade. His past offences included burglary, grand theft, fleeing from an officer, aggravated fleeing, carrying a concealed weapon, all from Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

According to the Wichita Eagle, Ford has also had criminal cases in Harvey County, including a misdemeanour conviction in 2008 for fighting or brawling and various traffic violations from 2014 and 2015.

The shooting came less than a week after authorities say a man opened fire at several locations in the Kalamazoo, Michigan, area, leaving six people dead and two severely wounded. Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive in those attacks.

Eleven of the people wounded in Thursday's attack were taken to two Wichita hospitals, where one was in critical condition, five in serious condition and five in fair condition Friday morning, hospital officials said.

The others were taken to a hospital in nearby Newton, and their conditions were not immediately available.

Walton said his office served the suspect with the protection-from-abuse order at around 3:30 p.m., about 90 minutes before the first shooting happened. He said such orders are usually filed because there's some type of violence in a relationship. He did not disclose the nature of the relationship in question.

While driving to the factory, the gunman shot a man on the street in Newton, striking him in the shoulder. A short time later, he shot someone else in the leg at an intersection.

"The shooter proceeded north to Excel Industries in Hesston, where one person was shot in the parking lot before he opened fire inside the building," the department said in a news release. "He was seen entering the building with an assault-style long gun."

Ford had left work early without explanation before showing up hours later with a rifle, according to a co-worker.

Matt Jarrell says he and Ford had worked "hand-in-hand" as painters on the second shift. He says Ford arrived as scheduled on Thursday but later disappeared and wasn't there to relieve him so that he could take a break.

Jarrell told The Associated Press on Friday that someone else eventually spelled him and that he was sitting in his truck in the parking lot when he saw Ford drive up in a truck that wasn't his.

Jarrell said he sped away when he saw Ford shoot someone and then enter the building.

Moments later, Martin Espinoza, who works at Excel, heard people yelling to others to get out of the building, then heard popping and saw the shooter, a co-worker he described as typically pretty calm.

Espinoza said the shooter pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun was empty. At that point, the gunman got a different gun and Espinoza ran.

"He came outside after a few people, shot outside a few times, shot at the officers coming onto the scene at the moment and then reloaded in front of the company," Espinoza told The Associated Press. "After he reloaded, he went inside the lobby in front of the building, and that is the last I seen him."

The officer who exchanged fire with the shooter was not injured.

Walton said the attacker had an "assault-style" rifle and a pistol.

Erin McDaniel, a spokeswoman for Newton, said the suspect was known to local authorities. She would not elaborate.

Hesston is a community of about 3,700 about 56 kilometres north of Wichita.

Excel Industries was founded there in 1960. The company manufactures Hustler and Big Dog mowing equipment and was awarded the Governor's Exporter of the Year award in 2013 from the Kansas Department of Commerce.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Homeowners ill-informed about flood compensation, poll suggests

    Canada News CBC News
    Many Canadian homeowners may be misinformed about whether they'll get federal compensation for basements flooded due to severe weather, a newly released survey suggests. The poll — commissioned last summer for Public Safety Canada — found 40 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: "The government will take care of me and my home if there's major overland flooding. Source
  • Airport screening rules revamped for transgender travellers

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal agency in charge of security at Canadian airports has changed its screening procedures to increase sensitivity and privacy for transgender travellers, but advocates worry the procedures could be problematic if staff aren't properly trained in how to carry them out. Source
  • Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary well-timed as electoral tests loom

    Canada News CBC News
    Justin Trudeau and his ministers will gather next week for a cabinet retreat in Calgary, site of a Liberal breakthrough in the last election that will soon be put to the test in a pair of byelections. Source
  • 'He wants Americans to love him': Trump biographers on what kind of president he'll be

    World News CBC News
    When pressed for a one-word assessment of the new U.S. president, this is what two of Donald Trump's biographers came up with. "Ego," said Tim O'Brien. "Needy," said Michael D'Antonio. Both authors have spent a lot of time with the real estate mogul who now sits in the Oval Office, trying to chisel away at what D'Antonio describes as a self-created caricature to get at the man behind the public persona. Source
  • A softer side of government: How Larry the cat became a purr-fect political companion on Downing Street

    World News CBC News
    Past the heavily guarded gates of Downing Street in central London, through the famous black door at No. 10, there is a brown-and-white tabby sporting a Union Jack collar that stalks up and down the halls. Source
  • Magnitude 8 quake hits Solomon Islands

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANBERRA, Australia — A powerful magnitude 8 earthquake hit the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands on Sunday, but no tsunami was reported hours after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert for nearby islands. The quake struck at a depth of 167 kilometres (103 miles) under Papua New Guinea’s most eastern province of Bougainville, where the two South Pacific countries meet in a continuous archipelago, said Chris McKee, assistant director of Papua New Guinea Geophysical Observatory…
  • 12 bodies recovered after landslide buries hotel in China

    World News CBC News
    Authorities in China say they've recovered the bodies of 12 people killed inside a hotel overrun by a landslide. State media reported Sunday that rescuers were able to pull out everyone trapped underneath rocks and debris after the Friday night landslide in Hunan province. Source
  • Dozens killed as train derails in India

    World News Toronto Sun
    HYDERABAD, India — At least 23 people were killed and 50 others injured after a passenger train derailed in southern India, railway officials said Sunday. Seven coaches of the Hirakand Express were thrown off the tracks around midnight Saturday, some landing on a goods train that was on a parallel track, said Divisional Railway manager Chandralekha Mukherji. Source
  • At least 32 dead in India train derailment

    World News CBC News
    At least 32 people were killed and 50 others injured after a passenger train derailed in southern India, railway officials said Sunday. Seven coaches of the Hirakand Express were thrown off the tracks shortly before midnight Saturday, some landing on a goods train that was on a parallel track, said Divisional Railway manager Chandralekha Mukherji. Source
  • Trump and Trudeau look 'forward to meeting soon' after Saturday phone chat

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated U.S. President Trump on his inauguration. The Prime Minister's Office says the two men spoke by phone Saturday, but it was not immediately clear how long the conversation lasted. The PMO said in an email that Trudeau noted the depth of the Canada-U.S. Source