Law enforcement officials in Kansas revealed Friday that the gunman who killed three people and wounded 14 on Thursday was issued a restraining order that afternoon, which may have triggered the deadly rampage at the factory where he worked.
Father-of-two Cedric Ford, 38, clocked in to work as a painter at lawn-mower manufacturing firm Excel Industries in the city of Hesston on Thursday morning.
But hours later he left – and returned with a .223-caliber assault-style rifle and a pistol.
He allegedly gunned down victims in multiple locations and stole a car along the road back to Excel Industries at 5pm on Thursday. The stolen car’s driver was one of the three killed.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said this morning that the sheriff’s office served Ford a protection from abuse order involving his gilfriend at around 3.30pm Thursday, and that he thinks it was likely what led to the attack, which began about 90 minutes later.
The sheriff said such orders are typically served ‘because there’s some type of violence in a relationship,’ but he declined to specify the nature of the relationship in question.
Witnesses at the Hesston office building, 35 miles north of Wichita, said Ford pulled up outside in a red van, shot a woman in the parking lot, then entered the facility, unleashing a volley of bullets as people ran for their lives screaming ‘run, fire, fire,’ according to one account.
Three people were shot dead and 14 were injured – five critically – before Ford was gunned down by police 26 minutes later.
Authorities in Hesston have said Thursday’s mass killing was not terror related.
‘This is a horrible situation my friends, just terrible,’ Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said at a late evening press conference.
‘There were some things that triggered this particular individual,’ he said, without going into further detail.
While many of his victims were coworkers, the attacker appears to have opened fire at random, Walton said.
One worker told KAKE News that Ford, of Newton, Kansas, had ‘mental issues’ and was ‘being teased a little bit’ when he worked at Excel.
However, another said ‘he was the nicest guy I know’ and that they had been chatting as normal when they walked in the plant to clock in this morning.
Ford, a father-of-two, has a long history of burglary convictions, grand theft, and prowling dating back to the 1990s. It is not clear how he managed to obtain a weapon given his criminal record.
Read more: Daily Mail