Joe Louis Esquivel Hispanic Columbia Machine plant worker, shoots 3 white co-workers dead in the break room at Smithsburg, Maryland location. No known motive.
Maryland authorities have identified, 23 year old Hispanic man, Joe Louis Esquivel as the suspected gunman who shot dead three co-workers, along with injuring two others in the break room of Smithsburg concrete plant, Columbia Machine, Thursday afternoon.
Esquivel is facing three charges of first degree murder in addition more than 20 other felonies, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Identified as the victims were, Charles Edward Minnick, Jr., 31, Joshua Robert Wallace, 30, and Mark Alan Frey, 50. All three fatalities were white men.
It remained unclear whether the victims were specifically targeted or randomly shot at.
Also wounded was, co-worker Brandon Chase Michael, 42, (also a white male) along with a 25-year veteran of the Maryland State Police after engaging the suspect in a gun battle after roadblocking Esquivel, five miles from the crime scene, after the suspect fled in a red vehicle.
No known motive
The trooper has since been released from the hospital. Esquivel who was wounded in the gun battle and also initially taken to hospital before being moved to Washington County Detention Center, where he remained held without bond.
According to police, Esquivel was an employee at Columbia Machine and a resident of Hedgesville, West Virginia. Hedgesville is located around 30 miles west of Smithsburg.
Prior to Thursday’s mass shooting, Esquivel showed up for work at his usual time to work his shift. With most of his workday completed, he went to his car, retrieved a gun and began his attack, authorities said.
During a search of his home, investigators retrieved more firearms, the sheriff’s office said. The weapon used in the attack was a semi-automatic handgun.
The suspect’s mother told NBC Washington she didn’t know of any issues that her son had work. Police to date have not announced a motive in the shootings.
The Smithburg shooting is the 254th mass shooting in the US this year, setting the country up to surpass last year’s total, according to CNN.
Smithsburg is located around an hour and a half northwest of Baltimore. It has a population of about 3,000.
A vigil is expected to be held for the victims of the shooting on June 11.
Esquivel is facing charges of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of first degree assault, three counts of second degree assault, reckless endangerment, use of a firearm in a violent crime and other handgun-related charges.