Shooter identified in Hesston mass shooting

By Chris Swick
February 26, 2016

The man who law enforcement says killed three people at Excel Industries in Hesston has been officially named.

Harvey County Sheriff T Walton named Cedric Larry Keith Ford, 38, of Newton, as the shooter during a Friday morning press conference in the Harvey County Sheriff's Department. According to Walton, Ford began his shooting spree in Newton just before 5 p.m. Thursday and finished only when a Hesston Police officer shot and killed Ford in the Excel offices.

Walton once more called the Hesston officer a hero during a press conference this morning.

“Understand, there's probably 200 or 300 more people in that building while this is going on,” Walton said. “This man was not going to stop shooting. The only reason he stopped shooting was because this officer stopped the shooter.”

The officer will not be named until an investigation is completed. Names of Ford's victims are also being withheld pending the final examinations of the Harvey County Coroner.

Another officer Walton identified as a hero was Hesston Police Sgt. Chris Carter, who was off duty at the time but still responded to the scene, where he says he helped secure the scene first.

“After that, I went in to help with recovery mode,” Carter said. “There's lots of employees willing to direct us and steer us to getting us to where the patients were. The one [wounded person] T spoke of was on the northeast side, where the shooter entered. So they directed us there.”

Walton said a possible motive for Ford centers around a protection from abuse order at around 3:30 pm Thursday afternoon while he was working at Excel. Walton says Ford didn't react out of the ordinary to getting served.

“They said he was upset,” Walton said. “But not greater than anyone else who had been served with a PFA.”

Ford was armed with a handgun and a rifle as he started his spree. The Harvey County Sheriff's Department estimates that, between the three shooting incidents Ford was involved in, a total of 18-20 people were wounded, either fatally or non-fatally, including Ford, himself.

Excel President and CEO Paul Mullet made a brief statement and took no questions from the media during the press conference.

“[The] Excel family is deeply saddened by the horrific event that occurred yesterday,” Mullet said. “Our hearts go out to our employees and their families who are enduring this tragedy. Our first priority has been and will remain the safety and wellness of all our employees. We are fully cooperating with the law enforcement agencies and the Red Cross. Our internal teams are fully engaged in crisis management. We are thankful for all the support we are receiving during this very difficult situation.”

Walton said the shooting is still under investigation. Any one with additional information or tips is requested to call 1-800-Call FBI.