Three Dead in Smithsburg – NBC4 Washington

Three people are dead and one seriously injured after an attacker opened fire inside a manufacturing plant in western Maryland Thursday afternoon, authorities said. A state trooper was also injured in a shootout with the suspect.

Mark Alan Frey, 50, Charles Edward Minnick, 31, and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30, were killed at Columbia Machine, Inc., located in the 12900 block of Bikle Road in Smithsburg, according to the Sheriff’s Office. of Washington County. A 42-year-old man remains hospitalized after sustaining critical injuries.

According to authorities, the defendant, Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of Hedgesville, West Virginia, was working his normal shift when, just before 2:30 p.m., he left the building, retrieved a weapon from his vehicle, returned to the plant and shot the men in the break room.

“It was quickly discovered that the suspect had fled the scene before law enforcement arrived, and units passed on information on the description of the suspect’s vehicle,” Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said.

The suspect was found by a Maryland State Trooper on Maplesville Road and Mount Aetna Road, about five miles south of the plant.

Following a confrontation, the suspect was shot and injured, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. The state trooper also suffered minor injuries.

The suspected attacker was hospitalized, but his condition is unclear at this time. “The suspect is no longer a threat to the community,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

“They were telling him to put his hands up, that he was under arrest,” said Harleigh Routzahn, who said she watched as the suspect crashed into a police vehicle. “They probably told him that like 15 times. He shot the state trooper and scratched him, and that’s when all the officers started shooting.”

She said she heard between 15 and 20 shots.

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“When the troopers went to stop the vehicle, the suspect immediately began firing multiple bullets at the troopers,” Maryland State Police Lt. Col. Bill Dofflemyer said.

The officer suffered a minor injury and was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He received medical attention and was released. They have worked with the Maryland State Police for 25 years, authorities said.

Esquivel was also injured and taken to a hospital. He faces 25 charges, including three counts of first-degree murder, and is being held without bail.

Esquivel’s mother said she had no idea why her son committed these crimes or if he had any problems at work.

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