A series of shootings at a business, its parking lot and two streets nearby left four people including the gunman dead, a sheriff in south-central Kansas said Thursday.
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 travelled 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 shooting comes less than a week after authorities say a man opened fire at several locations in Kalamazoo, Mich., leaving six people dead and two severely wounded.
Martin Espinoza, who works at Excel, was in the plant during the shooting. He heard people yelling to others to get out of the building, then heard popping, then 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.
"I took off running. 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."
A nearby college was briefly locked down.
Hesston is a community of about 3,700 residents about 55 kilometres north of Wichita.
Excel Industries was founded in Hesston 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.
Walton said the FBI and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation had been called in to assist. A spokeswoman for the Kansas City office of the FBI did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday night.
"This is just a horrible incident. ... There's going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over," Walton said.
Kansas shooting: US gunman kills threeMan goes on a shooting rampage in the US state before being killed in a gun battle with police.
|Police say the gunman travelled between several sites and opened fire from a stolen car [Reuters]|
Three people were killed by a gunman and at least 14 others wounded in a series of shootings in the state of Kansas in the United States.
Sheriff T Walton said at a news conference on Thursday night there were "a number of crime scenes involved", including the Excel Industries plant in Hesston, north of Wichita, which manufactures lawnmower products.
The suspect was fatally shot by authorities inside the Excel building where all three vicims were killed.
Walton said the shooter stole a car before going on the rampage with an "assault-type" rifle.
The sheriff said a shooting also took place in the plant parking lot and two other locations nearby. He said the suspect travelled between the sites and fired from his car.
The scene at Excel Industries had been secured, he said.
"We want to get everybody identified. We're working on that," Walton said at the news conference.
The victims appear to have been chosen randomly and the motive was unclear, he said, adding the man was apparently an employee the plant.
The Kansas shooting comes less than a week after a man opened fire at several locations in Kalamazoo, Michigan, killing six people and wounding two severely.