KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The man suspected of killing three people at the Kansas factory where he worked had a criminal record in at least two states and had recently been served with an order to stay away from a former girlfriend.
Cedric L. Ford wounded 14 others Thursday on the rampage that began as he drove to Excel Industries in the small town of Hesston and continued after he went inside the lawnmower parts factory. He was then shot and killed by a police officer.
Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder, who fatally shot Ford, was a "tremendous hero" because dozens more people were still in the factory and the "shooter wasn't done by any means."
Ford, who a co-worker said was a second-shift painter at Excel, also spent considerable time in Florida, where he had felony convictions for burglary, grand theft and carrying a concealed weapon.
Police said they did not know what motivated Ford to carry out the attack, but they said he was not targeting specific victims.
He had a history of domestic violence, including a 2008 arrest for felony battery and disorderly conduct, and a 2010 arrest for drunken driving and obstruction of justice, the Harvey County Sheriff's Department said Friday in a release.
Ford was required to take an anger-management class in Harvey County in 2008 after he was convicted of disorderly conduct, according to The Hutchinson News. Court records show he completed the course.
Walton said his office served Ford with a protective order Thursday, about an hour and half before the first shooting was reported. He said such orders are usually filed because there's some type of violence in a relationship.
The woman checked the box on the form that indicated she had formerly been in a dating relationship with Ford and that the two had lived together.
When the judge issued a temporary order on Feb. 5, he filed it against Cedric Ford and listed his address as that of the Excel plant. The woman said in her request that he usually arrived at the Excel plant around 2 p.m. on weekdays, Sedgwick County court records show.
In her petition, the woman said she was in fear of "imminent bodily injury or beating."
"Cedric and I were verbally fighting. It became physical by him pushing me then grabbing me. He placed me in a chokehold from behind — I couldn't breathe," she said in the petition for the order. "He then got me to ground while choking me — finally releasing me."
"He is an alcoholic, violent, depressed," she wrote in the petition. "It's my belief he's in desperate need of medical and psychological help."
Sedgwick County Sheriff's Lt. Lin Dehning said while Kansas law prohibits people under protection orders from possessing weapons or ammunition, the law does not provide a mechanism for officers to seize weapons when they serve them with the order.
Federal law bars felons from possessing firearms.
Clarissa McCartney, a nursing student at Hutchinson Community College who knew Ford, said he was charismatic and approachable.
"You would never expect that from him," she said. "He was fun and kind."
Andrea Jaso, a neighbor of Ford's, said he seemed quiet and kept to himself. He sometimes talked about cars with her husband.
Ford "didn't seem like a violent person, but you never know," Jaso said. "You never know the whole story."
Associated Press writers P. Solomon Banda in Hesston, Kansas, and John Hanna in Wichita, Kansas, contributed to this report.