HESSTON, Kan., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A 38-year-old man who opened fire in his workplace, killing three and injuring more than a dozen, had been served a restraining order before he began shooting, Kansas law enforcement said.
Cedric Larry Ford, an employee at the lawn mower manufacturing plant, Excel Industries, was served the order about 90 minutes before the shooting spree, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton. Courts issue the orders to protect victims of domestic violence. It is unclear what led to the order of protection.
Police said up to 300 second-shift employees were in the factory when Ford entered the building just before 5 p.m. Thursday and began shooting. Police said he was armed with an assault rifle and an automatic pistol.
At least 14 people were injured, many in critical condition. Walton credited an officer for stopping the shooting by killing Ford.
"If he wouldn't have stopped that," Walton said of the unnamed officer, "not all of those people would've come out and this tragedy would've been a lot greater."
Ford's Facebook page has him listed as a painter at Excel. Some photos show him in a factory and others show a handgun. Several show him with two young children.
"This is just a horrible incident here," Walton said. "It's going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over."
Law enforcement gave an account of the events:
About 5 p.m., police first received a call of a man shot in the shoulder while he was driving with his two children in the car near an intersection in Newton, located about 25 miles outside Wichita. A short time later, another motorist was shot. Police said Ford stole the driver's car and went to the factory.
At the factory, one person was shot in the parking lot. Many of the victims and the gunman were killed near the front office area of the building.
All of those killed and all but two of those wounded were struck near and in the factory, police said. Seven of the victims were taken to Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, where two are in critical condition, two are serious and four are in fair condition. At Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, three victims are in serious condition and one is in fair condition. The condition of the remainder of the victims is not known.
Excel Industries' CEO, Paul Mullet said the factory will remain closed during the investigation.
"We're going to do what we can to take care of them and bring them through this tragedy," Paul Mullet, president and CEO of Excel Industries, said of his employees.