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Authorities piece together motive in Kansas shooting rampage

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Authorities in Kansas were investigating on Friday the motives of a gunman who killed three people and wounded 14 during a shooting spree that ended when an officer killed the suspect at the factory where he worked.

Law enforcement in Hesston, a town of about 3,800 people, 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.

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“There were some things that triggered this particular individual,” he said, without elaborating.

While many of his victims were coworkers, the attacker appears to have opened fire at random, Walton said.

Five of the 14 wounded were in critical condition.

The Kansas killings follow a mass shooting in Michigan this weekend, when a driver for car-hailing service Uber killed six people.

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The escalating number of mass shootings in the United States have elevated gun control as a campaign issue in the November U.S. presidential election.

The Kansas attacker, who was armed with a .223-caliber assault-style rifle and a pistol, fired out of his vehicle as he drove through two cities, Walton said. He then stole the car of one victim and drove to Excel Industries, where he worked, and shot a person in the parking lot.

The gunman entered the plant, where he had been scheduled to work and where over 100 employees were beginning the day’s second shift, and opened fire on his co-workers, killing three, the sheriff said. Other employees fled in panic.

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The first police officer on the scene exchanged fire with the gunman near the building’s paint room, killing him, Walton said.

“Even though (the officer) took fire, he went inside of that place and saved multiple, multiple lives — a hero, as far as I’m concerned,” the sheriff said.

The killing spree spanned 26 minutes, he said.

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A dispatcher with the Sheriff’s Department had identified the shooter as 38-year-old Cedric Ford. Walton declined to identify the suspect, saying his identity would likely be released on Friday.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; editing by Katharine Houreld)


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