NATIONAL NEWS

Suspect charged in Maryland workplace shooting that killed 3 people

Jun 10, 2022, 9:46 PM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:53 pm
Police are seen at the scene of a shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland. (Mike Lewis/Herald-Mail/USA Tod...
Police are seen at the scene of a shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland. (Mike Lewis/Herald-Mail/USA Today Network via CNN) Mapleville Road 2
(Mike Lewis/Herald-Mail/USA Today Network via CNN)

(CNN) — The suspect in a workplace shooting in Smithsburg, Maryland, has been charged with three counts of first degree murder and three counts of second degree murder, according to a statement from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office posted Friday evening.

Authorities said Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of Hedgeville, West Virginia, shot four co-workers — three fatally — at a manufacturing plant in western Maryland on Thursday before fleeing the scene and exchanging gunfire with state police.

A trooper and Esquivel were wounded and hospitalized, according to Lt. Col. Bill Dofflemyer of the Maryland State Police (MSP).

Investigators have not yet established a motive for the shooting, which occurred at about 2:30 p.m., Washington County Sheriff Douglas W. Mullendore told reporters at a briefing.

Esquivel is being held by the Washington County Detention Center without bond. It’s currently unclear if he has an attorney.

The fatal incident is the 254th mass shooting this year, as the country is on pace to match or surpass last year’s total, according to the Gun Violence Archive. It comes as the US House of Representatives has passed several bills aimed at gun reform. Those measures have little chance of passing in the Senate.

The victims and Esquivel were employees of Columbia Machine, Mullendore said. The company makes concrete products equipment, according to its website.

The wounded state trooper, who is a 25-year veteran of the agency, was treated for his injuries and released, according to an update from MSP. Esquivel was also wounded after at least one of the troopers who responded to the scene returned fire and struck him. He was still being treated Thursday evening, police said.

Police from the nearby town of Smithsburg were first to arrive at the plant and discovered one victim in a field near the business, Mullendore said. A news release from the sheriff’s office said there were four victims total at the plant, three of whom were dead.

State police received a description of Esquivel and his vehicle, and three troopers found him driving about five miles from the shooting scene.

“When troopers went to stop the vehicle, the suspect immediately started firing multiple (bullets) at the troopers,” Dofflemyer said. A pistol was recovered at the second shooting scene, authorities said.

The sheriff identified the victims who were killed as Mark Alan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30. The other victim was Brandon Chase Michael, 42; police earlier said he was critically injured.

One of the victims, Wallace, is being remembered by friends and family as a happy and giving man who enjoyed hunting and fishing, according to Teena Sanders, whose niece was in a relationship with Wallace.

According to Sanders, Wallace worked at the factory since December 2021.

“He was very well liked by everyone that knew him.” Sanders told CNN. “If someone needed something, he was there to give a helping hand. When he loved, he loved with his whole heart.”

Smithsburg is about 75 miles west of Baltimore. It is about 100 miles from the border with West Virginia, where Esquivel lives, according to the sheriff.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is leading the homicide investigation with help from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in Baltimore, according to MSP.

Any troopers involved with the shooting “will be placed on administrative duty” until the investigation is complete, per agency protocol, MSP said.

Columbia Machine CEO Rick Good said Friday the company is “deeply saddened” and working with authorities as the investigation continues.

“Our highest priority during this tragic event is the safety and well-being of our employees and their families,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those that lost family members or were affected by this tragic event.”


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
14 hours ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: In this photo illustration, three screens display the splash page for...
Associated Press

Facebook parent Meta threatens to remove news from platform

Facebook parent Meta Platforms says it will be forced to consider removing news content from its platform if Congress passes legislation that could require social media companies to pay news outlets.
14 hours ago
(File) Front row, left to right: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thom...
JESSICA GRESKO and MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is sounding sympathetic to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples.
14 hours ago
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 08: Shipping containers are stacked at PortMiami after being offloaded from ...
Chris Isidore, CNN Business

US trade deficit edged up to $78.2 billion in October

The US trade gap edged only slightly higher in October than the month before, to $78.2 billion.
14 hours ago
People visit a makeshift memorial near the Club Q nightclub on November 22, 2022 in Colorado Spring...
Colleen Slevin, Associated Press

Colorado gay club shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

The suspect accused of entering a Colorado Springs gay nightclub and killing five people and wounding 17 others was formally charged with hate crimes as well as murder.
14 hours ago
FILE: Residents wait in line to vote early outside a polling station on November 29, 2022 in Atlant...
Bill Barrow and Jeff Amy, Associated Press

Warnock or Walker? Georgia runoff to settle last Senate seat

Georgia voters on Tuesday are deciding the final Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican football legend Herschel Walker.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Suspect charged in Maryland workplace shooting that killed 3 people