In life or death situations, police officers sometimes have to make difficult calls. One of those hard calls is going into a crisis without backup- a call one Kansas Police Chief made in an instant.
When Kansas lawnmower plant employees came to work on February 25, 2016, they had no idea it wouldn’t be a typical day. At one point, they heard what some thought was an explosion or what others thought was gunfire.
The 150 workers knew they needed to get out of the plant. Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder was the first officer to arrive at the scene, and he immediately went inside, using the trail of blood as a guide.
One of the employees gave Schroeder the general direction of the shooter. Cedric Ford, the shooter, was hiding behind a door, firing at people trying to run away.
Stopping the Shooter
Schroeder was almost shot as he walked up to the door, but when it opened, he and Ford shot at each other. Finally, Schroeder delivered a shot that fatally wounded Ford.
According to Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton, Schroeder’s actions saved “multiple, multiple lives.” Walton said, “[He’s] a hero, as far as I’m concerned.”
Ford was an employee of Excel Industries. As it turns out, Ford shot at drivers and pedestrians as he was passing through Newton earlier in the day on the way to work.
Ford was known for being “mellow,” and many co-workers were shocked by his actions. According to the Sheriff, however, Ford was served with protective orders earlier that morning, which is what likely set him off.
The woman who petitioned for it wrote, “He is an alcoholic, violent, depressed. It’s my belief he is in desperate need of medical & psychological help!”
Before Schroeder intervened, Ford killed three employees and hurt 17 more. The police chief’s selfless action of going in alone saved many people’s lives that day.
Who knows how many more employees’ lives would have been lost if he had waited for backup. Schroeder was given the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor for his bravery.