Gunman's co-worker describes start of Kansas factory attack
HESSTON, KAN. >> The Latest on the attack at a central Kansas factory (all times local):
A co-worker says the man who attacked the Kansas lawnmower parts plant left work early without explanation before showing up hours later armed with a rifle.
Matt Jarrell says he and 38-year-old Cedric Ford worked "hand-in-hand" as painters on the second shift at the Excel Industries factory in Hesston. 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 says he sped away when he saw Ford shoot someone and then enter the building.
Authorities say Ford wounded three people before storming into the building and shooting 15 others, killing three of them. A police officer killed Ford during a shootout.
Authorities have identified a man who opened fire on the central Kansas factory where he worked, killing three people and wounding many others, as 38-year-old Cedric Ford.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said Friday that Ford was served with a protection from abuse order about 90 minutes before the attacks began Thursday evening. He says Ford shot and wounded three people before storming the Excel Industries lawnmower parts factory in Hesston and shooting 15 others, killing three of them. A police officer killed Ford during an exchange of gunfire.
Public records show that Ford has several previous offenses in Florida over the last decade, including burglary, grand theft and fleeing from an officer. Online records show he was released from the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections in February 2007.
In Kansas, he had a misdemeanor conviction in a 2008 fighting or brawling case and various traffic violations from 2014 and 2015.
A sheriff says the police officer who shot and killed a gunman who was attacking the central Kansas factory where he worked is a "tremendous hero."
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said Friday that had the Hesston police officer not killed the man during the Thursday evening attack at the Excel Industries lawnmower parts plant, it "would be a whole lot more tragic."
He says there were still 200 or 300 other people in the factory and that "the shooter wasn't done by any means."
Walton didn't identify the officer or the attacker.
Authorities say the attacker shot and wounded three people before storming into the factory, where he shot 15 others, killing three of them, before the officer killed him.
Authorities say a man who opened fire on the central Kansas factory where he worked was served with a protection from abuse order shortly before the attack.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said Friday that the sheriff's office served the suspect with the order at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday and that he thinks it was likely what triggered the attack, which began about 90 minutes later.
He says such orders are typically served "because there's some type of violence in a relationship," but he declined to specify the nature of the relationship in question or to disclose the attacker's name.
Pickett says the suspect shot two people while driving to the Excel Industries plant in Hesston where he worked and shot another person in the parking lot before going inside. He says the man shot 15 others in the lawnmower parts factory, killing three of them, before a Hesston police officer shot him dead.
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