Cedric Larry Ford, a painter at Excel Industries, is accused of opening fire on co-workers at the Hesston, Kansas, company on Thursday before he was fatally shot, KWCH-TV reports.
Shootings also occurred at a location in nearby Newton, along with other areas in Hesston. Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said four people were killed, including Ford. Fourteen others were wounded, and at least five of those victims are in critical condition. One victim is in surgery and eight are in stable condition, he said.
“This is just a horrible incident that has happened,” Walton said. “There’s going to be a lot of sad people here.”
Ford, 38, was killed by Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder at the manufacturing plant. Schroeder was the first to respond to the shooting and entered the building alone. He exchanged gunfire with the shooter, but was not shot.
Walton called Schroeder a “hero” who saved lives. He was also praised by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.
The victims have not been identified.
Here’s what you need to know about Ford and the shooting:
1. He Was Issued a Protective Order Hours Before the Shooting From a Woman Who Said He Choked Her During a Fight
Cedric Ford was served with a protective order barring him from contacting a woman he lived with and had previously dated. The order was served to him about 90 minutes before the shooting, while he was at work, police said.
The “protection from abuse” order says that he was moving out from the residence where he lived with the woman, and that they had lived together with children, but they were not their kids. The woman filed the petition February 5.
She described what led to her seeking the order, writing, “Cedric + I were verbally fighting. It became physical by him pushing me then grabbing me. He placed me in a choke hold from behind – I couldn’t breath – he then got me to the ground while choking me – finally releasing me.”
She said he was an “alcoholic, violent, depressed … It’s my belief he is in desperate need of medical + psychological help!”
You can read the protective order below. Click here to read it if it does not appear.
While Ford’s ex-girlfriend described a dangerous and violent man, his co-workers said they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary with him.
Ford’s partner at the plant said no one saw this coming in an interview live on KWCH-TV. He said he recently bought a new truck and there was no indication that anything was wrong. The co-worker said he talked to Ford earlier Thursday.
Another co-worker told the news station he was a “nice” guy and it didn’t seem like he would do something like this. Police have not said they have a motive for the shooting.
Ford lived in Newton, Kansas, the town where one of the shootings occurred. A trailer park there was swarmed by officers about an hour after the initial shootings, KWCH reported. Police with AR-15s and in body armor have swarmed the area, telling anyone in the home to come out with their hands-up. The sheriff said they believed someone was in the house where Ford lived, refusing to come out, but later determined it was empty.
Sheriff T. Walton said at a press conference that the first shooting occurred at about 5 p.m. in Newton, Kansas. The gunman shot at two vehicles from inside his own vehicle, wounding one driver and missing the other. He then continued on and shot at a third vehicle, hitting the driver in the leg. After stealing that victim’s vehicle, he drove to Excel Industries, where he shot one person in the parking lot, Walton said.
The gunman then entered Excel and shot 15 people, killing three, before law enforcement exchanged gunfire with him. He was fatally shot by officers, Walton said.
Walton says they do not believe the shooting is related to terrorism.
Ford was killed in the painting area of the Excel plant, where he worked, and apparently was shooting at random, the sheriff said.
2. He Posted a Video Showing Him Shooting a Rifle & Photos Holding Guns on His Facebook Page
A photo on Cedric Ford’s Facebook page shows him holding a handgun as a long gun lays across his chest.
He also posted a video showing him shooting a rifle in a field in September 2015:
It’s not known if those weapons were used in the shooting. The photo was posted on February 15.
“Lol I’m ok really just doing my thing as things,” he said in a comment. “Come on it’s sexy a little bit.”
After someone said to him, “Ain’t nothing new my Dogg been having that heat,” he responded, “Every day since I hit them streets … And all my real goons know.”
He also posted a photo on January 30 with the handgun in his lap and a bottle of gin between his legs:
A witness who said she was shot at during the incident told KWCH-TV that the gunman had a “machine gun.”
3. He Was Was Accused of Domestic Violence & Has a Felony Record in Florida Dating Back Several Years
According to online court records, Ford has a criminal record in Harvey County, Kansas. He was arrested on December 17, 2010, and charged with a parole violation, domestic battery, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, traffic violations and theft.
The outcome of that case was not immediately available.
He also has a record in Florida, according to online court records in Broward County and KWCH. His convictions include fleeing from police, battery and grand theft.
4. He Was a Painter at Excel Industries & Was Originally From Miami
According to his Facebook page, Ford worked as a painter at Excel Industries.
He is originally from Miami, Florida.
According to Excel Industries’ website, the Hesston-based company is a “leading manufacturer of turf care products,” including the Hustler Turf Equipment and BigDog Mower Company product lines. The company was founded in 1960 and has been a family-owned business for three generations.
5. He Has at Least 2 Children
According to his Facebook page, Cedric Ford has two children, a son and a daughter, who appear to be under the age of 10.
He recently posted a video on February 21:
In another video from the same day he can be seen watching a movie and singing and dancing along with music:
On February 15, he posted a photos of his car, and said “Getting ready for the car show,” on February 26 and 27:
On January 22, he “checked in” to Excel Industries on Facebook and said “man F*CK”:
On October 14, 2015, he wrote, “It’s so hurtful when you have no one to talk to about your problems.”
It’s not clear why he made that post.