LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Four people were killed Thursday and 14 were wounded, several of them critically, when an employee opened fire at a lawn mower factory in a small Kansas town, police said.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said the dead included the gunman, an employee at Excel Industries, located in a tight-knit community north of Wichita.
Walton said the first officer to arrive at the scene shot the gunman, saving “many, many lives.”
“This is a horrible situation, just terrible,” Walton said, adding that his department received a call from the White House after the incident.
Walton said authorities had information on “some things that triggered this individual,” but he would not elaborate.
The sheriff initially had said that up to seven people had been killed and up to 30 wounded but later revised the toll downwards.
The carnage was the latest in a string of mass shootings in the United States, where such attacks have become commonplace.
Walton said the gunman, who he declined to identify, first fired at two motorists from his car, stealing one of the victims’ pickup truck before heading to the factory.
He shot a woman in the parking lot with an assault rifle and then entered the facility unleashing a volley of bullets as people ran for their lives screaming “run, fire, fire,” according to one witness.
Local media identified the gunman as Cedric Ford, 38, who worked as a painter at the factory and had posted a picture of himself on Facebook with an assault rifle.
Ford recently moved to the area from Miami, and had an extensive criminal record, including a history of prowling, loitering and illegal weapons possession, media reports said.
Walton said police surrounded the gunman’s home after the shooting but his male roommate refused to allow them in, resulting in a standoff that continued unresolved late Thursday.
“We will make entry,” he said.