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Employee charged with murder in Maryland workplace shooting

June 11 (UPI) -- An employee has been charged with three counts of murder for a shooting at a workplace in Maryland that killed three people.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office listed three counts each of first-degree and second-degree murder for Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of Hedgesville, W.Va., in a Facebook post.

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Esquivel was being held at the Washington County Detention Center without bond, according to the post. Other charges filed against him included assault, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, loaded handgun in vehicle and loaded handgun on person.

He was employed at a warehouse in Smithsburg, Md., for Columbia Machine, police said. The global company makes concrete products equipment, according to its website.

On Thursday, Esquivel shot four co-workers, three fatally, at the warehouse, according to a statement from the Maryland State Police.

About 15 minutes after the shooting at the facility, Esquivel fired multiple rounds at state troopers, shooting and injuring one and getting hit in return fire, according to a preliminary investigation, the state police statement said.

The injured state trooper, a 25-year veteran of the department, was treated for his injuries and released, the statement added.

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The statement noted that due to state police protocol, the troopers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative duty pending completion of an investigation.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office will be conducting the homicide investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI will assist.

A motive for the shooting has yet to be established, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore told reporters at a press briefing.

Mullendore identified the victims who were killed as Mark Alan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30.

Mullendore said the injured victim was Brandon Chase Michael, 42.

The incident is the 254th mass shooting this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and comes amid calls for an end to gun violence, resulting in protests.

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