The suspect in the shooting deaths of three men in the break room of a Maryland concrete plant on June 9 has been named as 23-year-old Joe Louis Esquivel.
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.
They are all related to the killings of Charles Edward Minnick, Jr., 31, Joshua Robert Wallace, 30, and Mark Alan Frey, 50, inside of the Columbia Machine plant in Smithsburg, Maryland, yesterday afternoon.
According to police, Esquivel was an employee at Columbia Machine and is a resident of Hedgesville, West Virginia.
Prior to the 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 in an interview that she hasn’t spoken to her son since the shooting and has no idea what his motives were. She added that she didn’t know of any issues that he had work.
Hedgesville is located around 30 miles west of Smithsburg.
Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, is facing more than 20 charges related to the shooting deaths of three co-workers in a Maryland concrete plant on June 9
Early in the investigation, Maryland State Police identified the suspect as a Hispanic male.
One other employee, Brandon Chase Michael, 42, at the plant was wounded but survived.
A 25-year veteran of the Maryland State Police was also wounded by Esquivel, authorities said. The trooper has since been released from the hospital.
During that altercation, Esquivel was also wounded.
The shooting began around 2.30pm, according to police. By the time authorities arrived to the scene, the suspect had fled in a red car.
Police caught up with the suspect roughly five miles from the factory on Maplesville Road and Mount Aetna Road and the group began shooting at each other.
The gunman’s red car was seen in NBC’s helicopter footage with the windshield shattered by bullet holes. A state trooper’s vehicle blocked the car on the road.
The suspect grazed the trooper and he himself was wounded when officers returned fire.
One of the victims, Joshua Robert Wallace, 30, was confirmed to have been killed by his girlfriend Taylor Toms
Charles Minnick was also identified as one of the victims of the rampage. Charles’ relative Larry Specht wrote that he would ‘miss’ his ‘little buddy’ in a Facebook tribute
A friend said in a tribute to Mark Alan Frey that he was excitedly anticipating the birth of his first grandchild later this month
He was taken to Meritus Medical Center and was taken from there to Washington County Detention Center where he is being held without bond.
This attack came amid a spate of deadly mass shootings across the country in recent weeks, including in New York, California, Texas and Oklahoma.
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.
The most deadly was at an elementary school in Uvalde where 19 schoolchildren and three teachers were slaughtered by crazed 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos.
This attack came amid a spate of deadly mass shootings across the country in recent weeks, including in New York, California, Texas and Oklahoma
Police outside of the scene of the shooting on June 9
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.
Taylor Toms wrote of her boyfriend, Joshua Wallace: ‘My heart is completely shattered. I lost the love of my life today. I love you so much, baby, I hate this.’
She added: ‘Our future is gone, you’re gone, I can’t believe your gone. God, I love you so much.’
Minnick’s relative Larry Specht put: ‘Please pray for my wonderful wife and family and the other famil[ies] involved with today’s shooting in Smithburg.
‘We lost a son today, he was more than a son, he was my little buddy. RIP CJ, we will miss you much.’
A friend said in a tribute to Mark Alan Frey that he was excitedly anticipating the birth of his first grandchild later this month.