Gunman kills three and injures 14 during shooting spree in Kansas
Published 26/02/2016 | 06:53
A gunman has killed three people and wounded 14 in a series of shootings in a Kansas industrial area.
Harvey County sheriff T Walton said the attacks happened at the Excel Industries factory, a car park outside the plant and two other locations in Hesston.
Ten of the injured were said to be in a critical condition.
He said the gunman, an Excel employee who was eventually killed by a police officer, travelled between the sites, opening fire from his car. All the dead were shot inside the factory.
Authorities surrounded the gunman's home in the city of Newton, believing his room-mate may be inside, but later stood down when no-one else was found there.
The sheriff's office is investigating the attacks along with the FBI and Kansas Bureau of Investigation. A nearby collegewas briefly locked down during the incident.
Excel Industries, established in 1960, makes Hustler and Big Dog lawn mower parts in Hesston, a community of about 3,700 and about 35 miles north of Wichita.
An employee said he was in the plant during the shooting when he heard people yelling to get out of the building.
Martin Espinoza said he heard a popping sound then saw the gunman, who he said was a co-worker he described as typically pretty calm.
Mr Espinoza said the shooter pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun was empty. The attacker then got a different gun and Mr Espinoza ran away.
"I looked right at him and he looked right at me," he said.
"I took off running. He came outside after a few people, shot outside a few times, shot at the officers coming on to the scene at the moment and then reloaded in front of the company.
"After he reloaded he went inside the lobby in front of the building and that is the last I seen him."
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.
Sheriff Walton said about 150 people were in the factory at the time of the shooting and the officer who killed the gunman "saved multiple, multiple lives".
He said the gunman had an assault weapon and a pistol.
The officer who killed the man was "a hero as far as I'm concerned", Sheriff Walton said.
"This is a fairly peaceful community and to have something like this is tragic."
The sheriff would not discuss a motive, but said "there was some things that triggered this individual".
"This is just a horrible incident. There's going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over," he added.