Three people are dead and three were injured following a shooting on Thursday in Smithsburg, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said. Officers said they responded around 2:30 p.m. to Columbia Machine INC., a manufacturing plant, for reports of an active shooter.
Upon arrival, police said they found three men dead. The three victims were identified as 50-year-old Mark Alan Frey, Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31 and 30-year-old Joshua Robert Wallace.
A fourth victim, Brandon Chase Michael, 42, was critically injured, officers said.
Police said the suspect, Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of Hedgesville, West Virginia fled the scene before officers arrived.
Esquivel and the victims were employees of the manufacturing plant, officers said. He worked throughout the day at the business prior to the incident.
Police said around 2:30 p.m., Esquivel exited the building, took a semi-automatic handgun from his vehicle and re-entered the business. He went to the breakroom area and then shot at employees.
A short time later, Maryland State Police encountered Esquivel inside a vehicle in the area of Mapleville Road and Mount Aetna Road, officers said. They exchanged gunfire.
Police said Esquivel and a trooper were injured and taken to Meritus Medical Center for treatment.
The trooper suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital, officers said. Esquivel was also released from the hospital and is now being held at the Washington County Detention Center on no bond.
Police said Esquivel faces numerous charges that include multiple counts of first- and second-degree murder, assault and weapons charges.
A motive for the shooting is under investigation.