Shooting in Maryland: 3 dead, a police officer injured
A man opened fire Thursday at a manufacturing business in rural western Maryland, killing three people before the suspect and a state trooper were injured in a shootout, authorities said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that three victims were found dead at Columbia Machine Inc. in Smithsburg and a fourth victim was seriously injured. The suspect then fled in a vehicle and was found by Maryland State Police, according to the news release.
The suspect and a soldier were injured in an exchange of gunfire, the sheriff’s office said. Both were being treated for their injuries. Governor Larry Hogan, who was briefed on the shooting, said the man opened fire on soldiers before at least one officer returned fire and injured the suspect.
« The suspect shot and shot the state trooper in the shoulder, who then returned fire and shot him, » Hogan told reporters.
Authorities did not have information about whether the suspect and victims were employees of the company where the shooting took place, Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Carly Hose said at a press conference.
Family members of the manufacturer’s workers were gathering Thursday night at a fire station in downtown Smithsburg as they awaited information about their next of kin. They refused to speak to a reporter.
Several hours after the shooting, many law enforcement officers remained at the scene. Police had closed the road past the Columbia Machine Inc. facility and yellow tape blew in the wind outside the business.
Messages left asking the company for comment were not immediately returned.
Smithsburg, a community of nearly 3,000 people, lies just west of the Camp David presidential retreat and about 120 kilometers northwest of Baltimore. The manufacturing plant was in a sparsely populated area northeast of the city center with a church, several businesses, and farmland nearby.
US Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland, lamented the loss of life in his state so soon after other recent shootings and vowed to take action.
« Today’s horrific shooting comes as our state and our nation have witnessed tragedy after tragedy, and that must end, » he said in a statement. « We must act to address mass shootings and the daily toll of gun violence in our communities. »
Sarah Brumfield, Associated Press writer in Silver Spring, Maryland, contributed to this report.