A series of shootings at multiple sites near Hesston, Kansas, have resulted to several fatalities. According to authorities, one of these sites was a lawn care products factory.
The shooter, identified as an employee of Excel Industries, was dead but did not take his own life, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said, as reported by USA Today. In a news conference, Walton said that as many as three to four fatalities have been reported, and 20 others injured, in the incident. “We have so many crime scenes,” Walton said at a news briefing.
“We have numerous people shot inside the building, we have a number of people killed inside the building,” he added. “I don’t have an exact count for you right now.”
There could be four crime scenes where the shooting occurred. As reported by NBC News, they were: inside the Excel facility; in the parking lot of the plant; another location in Hesston; and the town of Newton. The gunman opened fire at the sites as he was driving to the factory, which was his main target.
“Those are all connected,” Walton said. “He was traveling and shooting from his car.”
The shooter’s name has not been released. Walton said the gunman may have been an employee of Excel Industries who may have recently been terminated.
“This is just a horrible incident that’s happened here … please bear with us as we try to get through this,” Walton said. “There’s going to be a lot of sad people before this is all over.”
The shooting, which occurred after 5 p.m., caused the Hesston College to be placed under lockdown for two hours.
Marty Pierce, a witness, said that the shooter seemed to be carrying an AK47 assault rifle. Pierce said the shooter opened fire and “started spraying everyone” with bullets in the assembly area near the paint department, according to the New York Times.
“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,” Pierce said. He also said that he heard his coworkers screaming “fire.”
“They were saying, ‘Fire, fire,'” Pierce said. “We didn’t know they were getting shot.”