HESSTON, Kan. — Authorities have identified a man who opened fire on the central Kansas factory where he worked, killing three people and wounding many others, as 38-year-old Cedric Ford.

Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said Friday that Ford was served with a protection from abuse order about 90 minutes before the attacks began Thursday evening. He says Ford shot and wounded three people before storming the Excel Industries lawnmower parts factory in Hesston and shooting 15 others, killing three of them. A police officer killed Ford during an exchange of gunfire.

Public records show that Ford had several previous offenses in Florida over the last decade, including burglary, grand theft and fleeing from an officer. Online records show he was released from the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections in February 2007.

In Kansas, he had a misdemeanor conviction in a 2008 fighting or brawling case and various traffic violations from 2014 and 2015.

 

The shootings began about 5 p.m, when Ford, armed with an “assault-style” weapon, shot a man on the street, wounding him in the shoulder. A short time late, another person was shot in the leg at an intersection. Ford continued through the south-central Kansas town, taking shots at people before storming the factory where he worked.

Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said all the dead were shot inside Excel Industries, a plant in Hesston that makes lawn mower products.

A law enforcement officer killed the gunman after he began shooting at police, Walton said. The officer was not injured.

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 also had a pistol.

The officer who killed the man is “a hero as far as I’m concerned,” Walton said.

The shooting comes less than a week after authorities say a man opened fire at several locations in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 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.

Several law enforcement vehicles surrounded the suspect’s home in a trailer park in Newton. The Harvey County Sheriff’s Department initially said authorities believed the suspect’s roommate could be inside. But McDaniel said the standoff ended later Thursday night and no one was inside the home.

Hesston is a community of about 3,700 residents about 35 miles north of Wichita.