Hesston, Kansas: Multiple Dead, Including Gunman, 14 Injured in Series of Shootings

Hesston, Kansas: Multiple Dead, Including Gunman, 14 Injured in Series of Shootings

A Sheriff in south-central Kansas said Thursday that four people, including a gunman, are dead after a series of shootings at a business, its parking lot and two streets nearby.

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.

Law enforcement officers killed the gunman, who worked at the plant, after he began shooting at them, Walton said.

Before driving to the plant, the man fired from his vehicle, the sheriff said.

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 told The Associated Press the shooter pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger, but the gun was empty. At that point, the shooter got a different gun and Martin took off running.

“I looked right at him and he looked right at me,” Espinoza said.

KSN-TV footage showed a large law enforcement presence at Excel Industries and at least one person being loaded into an ambulance. A college nearby was briefly locked down.

Walton said that authorities have surrounded the home of the suspected gunman and believe the roommate of the suspect may be inside.

Erin McDaniel, a spokeswoman for the city of Newton, said when law enforcement officers arrived, they heard loud music blaring from the home and no one answered the door.

The nearby Newton Medical Center has been locked down since about 8 p.m., with people not allowed to enter or leave, spokeswoman Leslie Helmer says. She says it was a precaution “due to police activity in the area.”

Hesston is a community of about 3,700 residents about 35 miles north of Wichita. Excel Industries was awarded the Governor’s Exporter of the Year award in 2013 from the Kansas Department of Commerce. The company manufactures Hustler and Big Dog mowing equipment and was founded in Hesston in 1960.

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