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Friday, February 26, 2016, 11:05

Kansas gunman kills 3 at workplace, shot

By Reuters

Kansas gunman kills 3 at workplace, shot
Police guard the front door of Excel Industries in Hesston, Kan, Feb 25, 2016. (Fernando Salazar / The Wichita Eagle via AP)

A man killed three people at a manufacturing plant in central Kansas, after driving around and opening fire on others in a shooting spree that left 14 others wounded and ended when police killed the gunman, authorities said.

The shooter appears to have driven around in a car, opening fire at several locations before entering the building of a lawnmower manufacturer in the town of Hesston, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said at a news conference.

The shooter, identified by a dispatcher with the Sheriff's Department as 38-year-old Cedric Ford, began his attacks at about 5 pm local time (2300 GMT) in the town of Newton, where a man driving a truck was shot in the shoulder, Walton said.

Witnesses speaking with local television stations also identified the shooter as Cedric Ford.

Kansas gunman kills 3 at workplace, shot
Police look for a possible second shooter in the parking lot of Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas, Feb 25, 2016. (Fernando Salazar / The Wichita Eagle via AP)

Soon after, the suspect shot a person in the leg on another street on the way to his worksite at Excel Industries, a large employer in Hesston, which is less than 14 km northwest of Newton, Walton said.

The gunman opened fire in the parking lot of the manufacturing plant, then entered the work site and continued his shooting spree, the sheriff said. Other employees told local media they fled in panic.

"This is just a horrible incident that's happened here," Walton said. "There are going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over."

The shooter killed three people at Excel Industries, and wounded 14 others in total during the rolling attack, the sheriff said.

The gunman died in a shootout, 26 minutes after the first shooting was reported, the sheriff said.

Walton said a lone officer, the first to arrive, killed the shooter and saved lives.

A number of mass shootings in the United States have elevated gun control as a campaign issue in the November US presidential election.

Kansas gunman kills 3 at workplace, shot
Police guard the front door of Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas, Feb 25, 2016. (Fernando Salazar / The Wichita Eagle via AP)

The series of shootings about 60 km north of Wichita come less than a week after a Michigan man who worked as a driver for car-hailing service Uber was charged with killing six people during a shooting rampage.

A dispatcher for the Harvey County, Kansas, sheriff's department said officers believe a Facebook page belonging to someone named Cedric Ford who lists his place of work as Excel Industries was that of the shooter. The page shows images of guns along with what look like family photos. Reuters was not able to independently confirm the authenticity of the Facebook page.

A spokesman for the local Via Christi Hospital St. Francis said they have taken in six patients from the shooting, with five in serious condition and one in fair condition.

Wesley Medical Center is treating three patients, said the facility's spokeswoman Susan Burchill. She had no further details.

"Please send your thoughts and prayers to the people of Hesston tonight," Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said in a statement.

An Excel employee told local television station KSN that she was just steps away from the shooter before she made her escape.

"I've been through quite a bit but nothing like that; that's terrifying," the woman, who did not give her full name, told the station.

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