Three people were killed and 14 were injured (10 critically) inside and near Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas yesterday before a responding police officer shot the suspect* dead.
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, 10 critically.
A law enforcement officer killed the gunman, who worked at the plant, after he began shooting at them, Walton said.
The man traveled between sites firing from a vehicle before reaching the plant, the sheriff said.
Walton said about 150 people were likely in the plant at the time of the shooting, and that the law enforcement officer who killed the suspect “saved multiple, multiple lives.” He said the gunman had an assault weapon and a pistol.
The officer who killed the man is “a hero as far as I’m concerned,” Walton said.
“This is a fairly peaceful community and to have something like this is tragic,” he said.
The sheriff would not discuss a motive but said “there was some things that triggered this individual.”
Erin McDaniel, spokeswoman for the nearby city of Newton, said the suspect was known to local authorities. She wouldn’t elaborate.
The suspect had a lengthy criminal record with arrests in Kansas for domestic battery, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft, and in his home state of Florida for theft, battery, prowling, and fleeing from police.
He was a “prohibited person” and could not legally purchase, possess, nor use any of the firearms that he owned and routinely posted to social media in an account under his own name. He would not have passed a background check, and could not have obtained his firearms from a federal firearms licensee.
Somehow, even though he was a known felon with firearms, posting pictures to Facebook under his own name, no one thought to inform the police to have him arrested for felony charges and parole violations.
The killer was armed with an intermediate-caliber (not “high power,” as the mainstream media always erroneously claims) semi-automatic (one shot per trigger pull, NOT a machine gun) AKM carbine and what appears to be a Glock 22 .40 S&W pistol.
The 7.62×39 cartridge used by the AKM typically features a 122-124-grain FMJ bullet known for a great deal of ballistic stability. It is known for frequently making “icepick” type wounds that punch straight through with relatively little damage to surrounding tissue, and may account of the large number of non-fatal injuries.
Excel Industries bans the concealed carry of firearms in the workplace, and it unfortunately appears that everyone at work was abiding by company policy… except for the felon with the lengthy criminal record.
* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers in hopes of denying them the celebrity they typically deserve.