Victims in Kansas Workplace Shooting Identified

The dead gunman was identified as Cedric Larry Ford of Newton, Kan.

February 26, 2016, 5:48 PM

— -- The three people killed in a Kansas workplace shooting Thursday were identified Friday afternoon as officials revealed that the suspect had been served a restraining order in the hours before the shooting.

The attack at Excel Industries in Hesston -- the suspect's workplace -- was the last in a series of three shootings by the alleged gunman, Cedric Larry Ford.

Ford, 38, a Newton resident, who allegedly killed three people -- Renee Benjamin, 30; Joshua Higbee, 31; and Brian Sadowsky, 44 -- and injured 14 others Thursday before police killed him, had been served shortly before with a restraining order meant to keep him away from a former girlfriend, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said.

The temporary order of protection was served at Excel Industries about 90 minutes before the first shooting, about 3:30 p.m.

In the order, the woman, whose name is not being published by ABC News, wrote that she and Ford were living together but broke up. He was moving out.

She wrote that on Feb. 5, she and Ford "were verbally fighting" when "it became physical by him pushing me and then grabbing me."

"He placed me in a chokehold from behind," she wrote, saying that she couldn't breathe. "He then got me to ground while choking me—finally releasing me."

The woman describes Ford as an “alcoholic,” “violent” and “depressed," according to the order of protection from abuse.

"It's normal when someone gets served a protection of abuse order" to be upset, Walton said this morning, explaining that Ford's behavior wasn't abnormal when he was served.

The Harvey County Sheriff’s Office said today that Ford had a history of domestic violence and that he was arrested in Newton in Nov. 2008 for felony battery and disorderly conduct.

Ford was also arrested in July 2010 for DUI and obstruction, the sheriff's office said. The results of those cases were not immediately clear.

Walton told ABC News that investigators still have many interviews to conduct but, at this point, the motive was "most likely domestic violence."

Ford died in a gun battle when a police officer shot him despite taking fire. Walton said today Ford would have kept shooting if a police officer had not stopped him.

Before the deadly shooting at Excel Industries, a plant which manufactures heavy-duty lawn care equipment, Ford also allegedly fired shot in two other areas, authorities said. The three shootings covered a range of about 6 miles and lasted a span of about 24 minutes, Walton said today.

Walton said the carnage began about 5 p.m. when the gunman opened fire from his vehicle in a location nearby Excel.

He hit two vehicles, injuring one person. After that, he went to another location near Highway 81, where he shot a person in the leg, authorities said.

From there, he took the victim's car and drove to the plant, where he opened fire before being killed by police. Authorities said Ford had an assault rifle and a pistol.

Fourteen people were hospitalized.

Investigators are unclear on the shooter's motive, but Walton said it was "not terrorism." But he did say there were "some things that triggered this particular individual."

"I’m really saddened by this horrific event," Excel CEO Paul Mullet said. "My heart goes out to all of the employees, all of their families.”

Mullet said today the company is fully cooperating with the investigation.

ABC News' Clayton Sandell contributed to this report.

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