SMITHSBURG, Md. - Three people are dead after a shooting at a manufacturing facility in Smithsburg, Maryland, according to authorities.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office confirms deputies responded to the shooting at Columbia Machine in the 12900 block of Bikle Road, near Smithsburg High and Middle Schools, around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies at the scene found four victims who had been shot. Three of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and the fourth victim was critically injured, but police did not give an update on that victim's condition. Police said the three victims that died were shot inside the manufacturing facility, while the fourth victim was shot outside.
Police identified the victims who died as Mark Alan Frey, 50, Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31, and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30. The victim who was hurt was identified as Brandon Chase Michael, 42.
Investigators said the suspect fled the scene prior to deputies arriving at the scene. Maryland State Troopers, who were also responding to the shooting, encountered the suspect's vehicle in the area of Maplesville Road and Mount Aetna Road and began to chase the suspect. The Sheriff's Office said the suspect and a MSP trooper exchanged gun fire, and both were injured during the shootings. The trooper and the suspect have both been taken to an area hospital for treatment. The trooper is expected to recover.
Investigators have not identified the injured trooper, but did confirm he is a 25-year veteran of MSP and is assigned to the Criminal Enforcement Division Western Region.
The suspect is described as a 23-year-old Hispanic man from West Virginia. Police said charges against him are still pending, and they will not release his name until charges are filed.
The suspect and the victims were all employees of Columbia Machine. According to police, the suspect arrived for his normal work shift at the facility, and worked throughout the day, before exiting the building around 2:30 p.m. to get a gun from his car. He then reentered the building and opened fire on the facility's employees.
Investigators are still working to determine a motive for the shooting.
Police said a semi-automatic handgun used in both shootings was recovered at the scene after the incidents. The exact caliber, make and model have not been released at this time. Police said additional firearms were recovered from the suspect's home in West Virginia on Friday.
The ATF and FBI offices in Baltimore posted on Twitter that they are assisting the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with the shooting.
The sheriff's office said that there is no threat to the community.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin released a statement on the shooting:
"A horrible tragedy has taken place in Smithsburg. My thoughts are with all of the families of the victims today. This cannot keep happening. My thanks go out to local law enforcement, Maryland State Police, the FBI, ATF and others who are working to determine the details of what occurred. I have reached out to local officials to see what other federal resources may be helpful in the wake of this shooting."
Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen also responded to the shooting in a statement:
"I’m devastated by the lives taken today in Smithsburg and for the pain and suffering their loved ones are experiencing. Today’s horrific shooting comes as our state and nation have witnessed tragedy after tragedy, and it’s got to stop. We must act to address the mass shootings and the daily toll of gun violence on our communities. As we learn more about the shooting today, my thoughts are with the employees of Columbia Machine, the Smithsburg community, and all of those grieving. I am committed to meeting your pain with action. I’m grateful for our first responders on the scene today – including the Maryland State Trooper who was injured – and all of those who are working to keep our communities safe. I will continue to stay in close contact with local officials and to offer any support or resources my office can provide."
The past few weeks have been riddled with gun violence as Americans mourn the loss of life in Texas, New York, California, Oklahoma and now Maryland.
The Smithsburg, Maryland shooting comes less than a week after a mass shooting at a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma in which four people were killed.
On May 24, a tragic mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two teachers dead.
On May 15, five people were injured and one person was killed inside a church in Laguna Woods, California the day after a shooting took place at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 Black people.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 for updates as they become available.