Another Mass Shooting in the US, This Time in Maryland - All We Know

Samrat Dutta

An employee in a manufacturing plant in Maryland, USA, fatally shoots three of his co-workers.

Here's all we know till now.

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Image given for artistic purpose only (not an accurate image).Maurício Mascaro / Pexels

An employee at a manufacturing plant of Colombia Machine in the US state of Maryland opened fire and killed three of his co-workers and injured another this Thursday, 9th June, as reported in New York Times. The suspect escaped the scene and was later caught after an exchange of gunfire with a Maryland State Police Trooper. Both of the individuals were injured in the ordeal. According to Sheriff's statement to the reporters, Douglas W. Mullendore of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, a 23-year-old from West Virginia is identified as the suspect but the authorities refrained from releasing their name since their charges are not yet confirmed and they are still only a suspect.

The sheriff’s office stated that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the facility near Smithsburg in response to reports of an active shooter around 2:30 PM. However, by the time the deputies arrived, the perpetrator had already escaped from the scene.

At the manufacturing facility owned by Colombia Machine, a company based in Vancouver, Washington, the first responders found three dead bodies and a critically injured individual. According to a report on CNN, the employees who were fatally shot were Mark A. Frey, 50, Charles E. Minnick Jr., 31, and Joshua R. Wallace, 30 and the man who was critically injured is Brandon C. Michael, 42.

According to the report on CNN, The sheriff’s office stated that the Maryland State Police Troopers, who were headed to the scene, spotted a person who matched the descriptions of the perpetrator. When the forces tried to approach the man and the vehicle, he opened fire “immediately”. The man was said to be using a semi-automatic hand gun and the firing injured an officer. The troopers returned fire hence.

The injured officer was treated at a local medical facility and upon improving, he was released. The physical condition of the suspect is yet to be provided. There has been no clear indicator of intent and it is still unknown why the perpetrator committed such an act of violence, however, some suspect mental disorders.

The sheriff’s office said that federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were helping in the investigation.

Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) tweeted soon after the shooting “We are actively monitoring the mass shooting in #Smithsburg right now, and our office is in contact with officials on the ground. If you’re local, please stay away from the area as law enforcement responds”.

This incident is an unwelcome addition to the list of recent high-profile mass shootings. The nation of the US, and the world, have been shaken by the incidents at Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, and this latest addition is unnerving, to say the least.

As reported on CNBC TV 18, on Thursday, the House approved a red flag by mostly a party-line vote, a bill that would allow families, police and others to ask federal courts to order the removal of firearms from people at extreme risk of harming themselves or others. In the US, presently, the red flag laws are there in nineteen states and the District of Columbia. Under the House bill, a judge could issue an order to temporarily remove and store the firearms until a hearing can be held.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at an event “Why? Why would someone be against raising the age so that teenagers do not have AK-47s? Yes, they say mental health issues. Yes, we want to address mental health issues. Other countries have mental health issues. They don’t have a gun violence epidemic.”

As reported by the New York Times, the Republican Party has been rigid in their disagreement with gun-control laws. The ownership of firearms and the “gun culture” has always been thoroughly defended by the American right-wing. As a result, Congress has rarely taken a hint from incidents like these in the past. According to a report by CNN, “US has lost at least 249 lives to mass shootings so far in 2022, which is a similar count to last year”. Even still, the governance over guns has been absent to negligible.

As reported by CNBC TV 18, president Joe Biden had previously called for an overall banishment of the ownership of guns by ordinary citizens. Even after that, actions have been sloppy. After much entanglements, a much-needed push arrived. The victims of recent mass shootings and their families testified. One of the most influential testimonials came from 11-year-old girl Miah Cerrillo, who covered herself with a dead classmate's blood to avoid being shot at the Uvalde elementary school. Due to this, the House approved a red flag bill Thursday that would allow families, police and others to ask federal courts to order the removal of firearms from people at extreme risk of harming themselves or others.

More information, statements, actions and discussion regarding this incident are due. The situation lacks clarity but what is surely factual is that the gun violence issue has grown exponentially and actions are required and they should be taken fast.

UPDATE:

As reported by CBS News, a West Virginia man, Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, was charged for the shooting. Esquivel was hospitalized after a shootout with police. He is currently being held by the Washington County Detention Center on no bond.

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