A man is facing murder charges after police said he fatally shot three people and injured two others in a Maryland workplace shooting Thursday.
Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of West Virginia, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder and 19 other counts in connection to the shooting at Columbia, Machine, Inc., a manufacturing facility specializing in concrete products in the northern Maryland city of Smithsburg, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
The investigation so far has revealed the suspect reported to work Thursday for his normal shift and worked through the day, according to the sheriff’s office.
At some point before 2:30 p.m., he “exited the building, retrieved a weapon from his vehicle, and reentered the business. The suspect proceeded to the area of the break room and begin to fire upon employees,” according to the sheriff’s office.
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Smithsburg Police Department officers were the first to arrive at the Columbia Machine factory, Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said Friday. When law enforcement agencies arrived, they found that four employees had been shot, three fatally.
The gunman fled the factory in his car before deputies arrived, but a Maryland state trooper pursued him. The state trooper was among the injured after exchanging gunfire with the suspect on the road. The trooper suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital Thursday.
The shooter’s semi-automatic handgun was found at the scene and more firearms were found in his home, police said.
Officials identified the victims as Mark Alan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30. Brandon Michael, 42, was injured, as well as the state trooper, who was not identified but called “a 25-year veteran of the department,” according to police statement.
Esquivel is currently being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center, the sheriff’s office said.
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.
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