It was the police chief of Hesston who took out maniac killer Cedric Ford at Excel Industries on February 25. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback named Doug Schroeder as the “hero” cop who killed Ford. Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton had earlier said, without naming Schroeder, that the chief had saved “multiple, multiple lives…He’s a hero as far as I’m concerned.” In total, Ford killed three people and wounded 17 others. The attack began in the neighboring town of Newton where Ford shot at a man who was driving by. From there, the killer went to his job at Excel Industries and began shooting right away, wounding a person in the parking lot.
He continued on his rampage until he encountered Chief Doug Schroeder.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. As People Fled From the Scene, Schroeder Ran Into the Factory to Hunt for Ford
Witnesses said that Schroeder ran into the factory and hunted down Ford, calling for the killer to come out. That man, named only as Eddie, who was at the factory to apply for a job, told KWCH, that he heard Schroeder searching for Ford, telling him to come out. Eventually, Eddie said there were “eight or 10 shots.” Then, “The glass doors I came through were shot out, both doors. It was shocking, it was unreal.”
2. Schroeder Graduated Top of His Class at Northwestern University
He is a graduate of Northwestern University. According to a Facebook post from the city of Hesston, Schroeder had been studying at the Police Staff and Command, a 22 week program, in October 2014. He finished at the top of his class. On his Facebook page, Schroeder adds that he also studied at Fort Hays State University. He’s a native of Goessel, Kansas, close to Hesston. Schroeder is an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals.
3. He’s Married to His Wife Vanessa; the Couple Have 2 Kids
4. The 3 People Murdered by Ford Have Now Been Named
The three people killed have been named as Josh Higbee, Renee Benjamin and Brian Sadowsky, 43. The latter was a native of Newton, according to his Facebook page.
Higbee’s fiance, Bree Luke, told KSN reporter Molly Brewer, that Higbee is survived by his 4-year-old son.
One of those wounded during the attack, Jesus Fierros, 25, told the New York Times from his hospital bed, “I just heard the gunshots and I just took off running. I heard people saying someone was shooting, and then I got shot in the leg and everyone started helping me.”
Excel Industries President and CEO Paul Mullet offered his condolences via KAKE saying, “I’m really saddened by this horrific event. My heart goes out to all of the employees, all of their families.” The Hesston Record reports that there will be a vigil held on February 26 at 6 p.m. at a vacant lot along Highway 81 and Ridge.
5. Ford Has Been Described as ‘Violent’, ‘Depressed’ & an ‘Alcoholic’
It has now emerged that just prior to the shooting, Cedric Ford was issued with a restraining order. In it, his girlfriend called him “violent” as well “depressed” and an “alcoholic.” A colleague of Ford’s told the Washington Post that the killer had just broken up with a woman. In addition, Ford had a history of domestic abuse.
No officers were injured during Ford’s shooting spree. A witness to Ford’s attack, Martin Espinoza, told the Associated Press, “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. After he reloaded, he went inside the lobby in front of the building and that is the last I seen him.” While another worker at the factory, Marty Pierce told KAKE, “I thought it was a fire or an explosion. I didn’t know someone was shooting, but then our robot operator decided to go look down the hallway—and he got shot.”