Maryland shooting: West Virginia man charged with killing three co-workers

Alleged shooter charged with murder, attempted murder, assault and weapons charges

Maroosha Muzaffar
Saturday 11 June 2022 10:02 BST
Three dead and one critically wounded in Maryland mass shooting
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A suspect in the Maryland factory mass shooting that led to three deaths has been identified as a 23-year-man from West Virginia and has been booked under a number of charges, said officials.

Washington County sheriff’s office released the name of the alleged shooter on Friday.

Police said Joe Louis Esquivel of Hedgesville, West Virginia was charged in connection to the shooting that resulted in the killing of three of his co-workers at the Columbia Machine manufacturing plant in Smithsburg, Maryland, on Thursday.

The sheriff’s office said law enforcement was called to Bikle Road, Smithsburg at around 2.30pm over the shooting at factory premises.

Governor Larry Hogan said three people had died in the shooting and at least three more people, including the shooter, were injured.

On Friday, Mr Esquivel was charged with murder and a number of felonies.

Some of the charges include murder, attempted murder, assault and weapons charges.

The suspect, police said, used a semi-automatic handgun. The exact calibre, make and model, however, have not been released.

“The motive for the shooting is still under investigation and there remains no active threat to the community,” the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect, who was hospitalised after a shootout with police, is currently being held by the Washington County Detention Center on no bond.

Authorities are still investigating his motive.

Mr Esquivel worked his full shift until he left the building to allegedly get a weapon. Police said the suspect went back in and opened fire on employees in the area of a breakroom.

Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore identified those killed in the shooting as Mark Alan Frey, 50 and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30, both from Hagerstown, Maryland and Charles Edward Minnick Jr, 31, of Smithsburg.

The one injured worker was released from hospital on Friday, the official said. He is recovering well, reports said.

A Maryland state trooper who was injured during the shootout, was treated and released on Thursday.

Smithsburg is situated about 120km west of Baltimore and 115km north of Washington DC, near the state’s border with Pennsylvania.

According to its website, Columbia Machine plant at Smithsburg offers automation and production solutions and “complete equipment lines to customers in over 100 countries”.

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