Cops: Suspect in Md. Mass Shooting Worked at Plant

Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of W. Va. charged with first-degree murder after 3 co-workers were fatally shot
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2022 6:50 PM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2022 6:00 AM CDT
Gunman Kills 3 at Manufacturer, Wounds Trooper in Shootout
Officers gather Thursday near the scene of a workplace shooting in Smithsburg, Md.   (AP Photo/Tim Jacobsen)

(Newser) Update: A suspect has been charged in a mass shooting that left three people dead at a manufacturing plant where he worked in Smithsburg, Md. In a Friday statement, the Washington County Sheriff's Department reported that 23-year-old Joe Louis Esquivel of West Virginia was hit with three counts of first-degree murder, as well as three counts of second-degree murder, among other charges, for the Thursday shooting at Columbia Machine, which makes concrete products equipment, per CNN. Three of Esquivel's co-workers died, while one was injured. Authorities say a state trooper and Esquivel were also injured after Esquivel fled the scene and engaged in a shootout with state police. Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore says a motive still hasn't been determined. Esquivel is being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center. Our original story from Thursday follows:

A gunman killed three people and critically wounded another person Thursday at a manufacturing business in rural western Maryland, authorities said, before being stopped by a state trooper in a shootout. Sheriff's officials said deputies went to Columbia Machine Inc., a concrete molding company in Smithsburg, after receiving a report of an active shooter there. The gunman drove away, officials said, then was stopped about 10 miles away by Maryland state police, the Washington Post reports. "The suspect fired and shot the state trooper in the shoulder, who then returned fire and shot him," Gov. Larry Hogan told reporters. The trooper and the suspect were being treated at hospitals.

Deputies found the bodies of the three victims at the business, as well as the person who was critically wounded, per the AP. Relatives of company employees waited at a fire station in downtown Smithsburg on Thursday evening for information about their family members. Officials declined to say whether the suspect or victims worked at the business. Smithsburg, which has a population of almost 3,000, is just west of the president's Camp David retreat. (Read more mass shootings stories.)

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