Co-worker says Kansas gunman had left work, returned

Posted at 11:41 AM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 11:41:04-05

HESSTON, Kan. (AP) — A co-worker says the man who attacked the Kansas lawnmower parts plant left work early without explanation before showing up hours later armed with a rifle.

Matt Jarrell says he and 38-year-old Cedric Ford worked “hand-in-hand” as painters on the second shift at the Excel Industries factory in Hesston. He says Ford arrived as scheduled on Thursday but later disappeared and wasn’t there to relieve him so that he could take a break.

Jarrell told The Associated Press on Friday that someone else eventually spelled him and that he was sitting in his truck in the parking lot when he saw Ford drive up in a truck that wasn’t his. Jarrell says he sped away when he saw Ford shoot someone and then enter the building.

Authorities say Ford wounded three people before storming into the building and shooting 15 others, killing three of them. A police officer killed Ford during a shootout.