Why would Cedric Larry Ford, 38, go on a shooting rampage in this small town, Hesston, which has 3700 residents and is located in south central Kansas? What makes a man go home to get a .223-caliber assault-style rifle and a pistol, then start firing randomly at other cars, making himself a mass murderer?
The Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton, believes that a court order may have incited the workplace carnage. He emphasized that the motive was definitely not terrorism.
‘…with a long criminal record, charged in 1996 with carrying a concealed firearm. He’s also been convicted on a number of charges in Florida, including burglary.’
‘He was having a bunch of problems. But you don’t need to go blasting up a plant because you’ve got problems.’
Although Ford was on probation, he broke it when he moved to Newton, Kansas and began working in nearby Hesston at Excel Industries, a lawn care company. Both are quiet rural towns about 30 miles north of Wichita.
Wednesday evening, coworker Brian Johnson got into a fight with co-worker Ford about “stupid stuff,” but he thought they had made up. Johnson said Ford was afraid he was about to be fired.
The sherifff Walton told NBC news:
‘We always say it won’t happen here. Well here it is. It happened here. We’ll get through it. It’s a good community of good, strong people.’
Ford had a live-in girlfriend, but earlier in February, she told the police that he assaulted her. She also said he put her in a chokehold. The woman told them that Ford was an “alcoholic, violent, depressed” and “in desperate need of medical & psychological help.”
She filed a written petition for protection from abuse on Feb. 5, according to the Wichita Eagle Newspaper. A deputy served Ford the protection from abuse order, when he was working at Excel at approximately 3:30 pm. This was the second order the sheriff’s department had served on the would-be shooter after he failed to appear in court.
The people Ford worked with at Excel Industrial, a lawn service company, said that co-workers felt an elusive but persistent feeling that something was “real off” about the Floridian. Coworker Michael Dellinger said that Ford gave him a “bad gut feeling.”
In Kansas, it is legal to buy long guns or handguns without a permit, and the guns do not have to be registered. Since Ford was a felon, an ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) official said they were investigating how Ford obtained the weapons.
Hesston police Sgt. Chris Carter told reporters Friday morning:
‘What crossed my mind was finding the bad guy, protecting everyone else who was there. Overwhelming. But we’re on auto-pilot. We’re trained for these. We just do what we’re trained to do.’
Ford’s shooting spree covered six miles and three crime scenes, but the entire massacre lasted just 26 minutes. This is the sequence of events:
▪ The first call to 911 came at 4:57 p.m. A man was shot in the shoulder by someone in another vehicle while driving. Ford was shooting randomly at cars.
▪ A short time later, a motorist reported being shot in the leg while driving a pickup between Newton and Hesston. Ford drove off the road, then he stole his victim’s pickup and drove it to his workplace.
▪ At Excel, he shot one person in the parking lot before entering the building and opening fire, killing 3, and wounding at least 14. A police officer shot and killed Ford. Five victims are in critical condition, one person is undergoing surgery, and eight are in stable condition.
Related Article: BREAKING: Two Dead At Least 5 Others Gravely Injured After Man Opens Fire With AK-47
Watch the Wall Street Journal video below for more information:
Featured Image: KAKE News via Twitter