At least three people were killed in yet another shooting spree in the United States Thursday. This time around the events unfolded at a Columbia Machine factory in Smithsburg, Maryland, and were perpetrated by a 23-year-old Hispanic male from West Virginia using a semi-automatic handgun.
The assailant was wounded by police fire, due to which he needed hospitalizing. His health condition is unclear. The suspect is in law enforcement custody at Meritus Medical Center. The officer was lightly wounded.
In addition to the three fatalities, four other people were wounded, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, which also confirmed the attacker was an employee at the facility, as were all the victims.
“The motive for the shooting is still under investigation and there remains no active threat to the community,” the sheriff’s office said. It also explained the suspect's identity will not be released until he is officially charged.
“On June 9, 2022, at approximately 2.30 PM, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to Columbia Machine Inc., 12912 Bikle Road, Smithsburg, MD, for reports of an active shooter,” it added in a statement.
It was the second episode of gun violence in Washington County in two days. On Wednesday, a 19-year-old was shot outside Valley Mall in Halfway, it was reported. In that case, the offender was identified as 21-year-old Matthew Steven Lookabaugh. He was charged with two counts each of attempted first and second-degree murder and first and second-degree assault.
Footage on social media shows the gunfight between Maryland state troopers and the Smithsburg deranged attacker. The exact caliber, make and model of the assailant's weapon have not been disclosed.
The victims have been identified as Mark Alan Fry, 50; Charles Edward Minnick, 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30. The fourth person who was critically injured has been identified as 42-year-old Brandon Chase Michael, Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore said.
“Units immediately responded and located 4 victims, 3 of which were deceased at the scene and one who was critically injured. The suspect fled the scene prior to Law Enforcement’s arrival, local law enforcement authorities said.
“The description was quickly released to additional responding units and the suspect vehicle was encountered by Maryland State Police in the area of Maplesville Road and Mount Aetna Road, gunshots were exchanged between the suspect and the Trooper, the statement went on.
“Both were injured and transported for medical treatment. Multiple Federal Agencies, including the FBI and ATF, have responded to assist in the investigation into the incident,” it was also pointed out.
According to their website, Columbia Machine is a company that offers “complete equipment lines to customers in over 100 countries.”