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3 killed, 1 injured in shooting at Maryland manufacturing facility, officials say

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Law enforcement officials stand near the scene of a shooting at Columbia Machine, Inc., in Smithsburg, Md., Thursday, Jan. 9, 2022.

Bill Green | The Frederick News-Post | AP

A person fatally shot three of his fellow employees at a rural Maryland manufacturing facility Thursday before being injured in an exchange of gunfire with state troopers, authorities said.

Three employees of Columbia Machine, Inc., in Smithsburg, were killed and a fourth was injured, Washington County sheriff’s officials said. A law enforcement official who first confirmed the deaths also initially said 4 people had been injured within the attack.

A Maryland state trooper who exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter on a road near the attack suffered a minor injury, and the suspect was captured alive, the law enforcement official said.

Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore identified the three people killed as Mark Alan Frye, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30; all employees of Columbia Machine, Inc., in Smithsburg.

A 42-year-old employee was injured, the sheriff said The injured employee was identified by the sheriff as Brandon Chase Michael, 42. The suspect, identified only as a 23-year-old man, was in custody at a hospital, Mullendore said.

His name was being withheld pending potential charges, the sheriff said. The weapon used was a semiautomatic handgun, he said.

The shooter fled in a vehicle before authorities arrived, but he was confronted on Maryland Route 66, authorities said.

Aerial video from NBC Washington showed the placement where troopers and the suspect clashed — a roadway with a Mitsubishi Eclipse and an unmarked police SUV.

The roadway was affected by evidence markers.

Maryland State Police Lt. Col. Bill Dofflemyer said on the evening news conference that three troopers en path to the scene encountered a motorist who matched the suspect’s description.

That suspect immediately opened fire, he said, prompting troopers to return fire and injure the person.

The trooper who was shot was “doing well” at a hospital, Dofflemyer said.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting local investigators, sheriff’s officials said.

The world of the attack is about 8 miles east of Camp David, the presidential retreat. There isn’t any indication the violence was related to the retreat.

The incident, which took place about 2:30 p.m., was initially considered an lively shooter situation.

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