Kansas gunman shot dead after killing 3, wounding 14
A sheriff says four people, including a gunman, are dead after a series of shootings in south-central Kansas. Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton gave the updated death count at a news conference Thursday night. (Feb. 25) AP
“The shooter proceeded north to Excel Industries in Hesston, where one person was shot in the parking lot before he opened fire inside the building,” the police department said in a release. “He was seen entering the building with an assault-style long gun.”
Walton said there were about four or five crime scenes in Newton, Harvey County, and Excel. Police killed the suspect when he began firing on officers and the shooter was dead by 5:23 p.m. Walton described the officer who took him down is “a hero as far as I’m concerned.”
“I heard some popping noises, but I thought it was just a drill,” Tim Kasper, a laser operator at Excel, told The Kansas City Star. “Then I heard a three-round burst, and I knew it was something real,” he added.
“I got out of there quick. People were running and panicking. It was chaos.”
Law enforcement vehicles surrounded the suspect’s home in a trailer park in Newton later Thursday night. The Harvey County Sheriff’s Department initially said they believed the suspect’s roommate could be inside but authorities later said the standoff ended and no one was there.
Paul Mullet, the president and CEO of Excel Industries, confirmed the gunman worked at the firm, KAKE reported.
“We’re really saddened by this horrific event and our heart goes out to all of our employees, all the families whose loved ones got injured or killed, and we’re going to do what we can to take care of them and bring them through this tragedy,” he said, according to the broadcaster.
The company employs 1,000 people and about 150 of them were on the job at the time, according to Walton.
Hesston is about 36 miles northwest of Wichita.
Excel Industries is a family-owned business that was founded in 1960, according to the Kansas City Star. The company is a leading maker of turf-care products and distributes its mowing products through Hustler Turf Equipment and BigDog Mower product lines, according to the company’s website.