SEYMOUR, Ind, (March 10, 2016) -- Two people are dead after a shooting at the Cummins plant in Seymour. Police are investigating the workplace violence as an apparent murder-suicide.
The shooting took place around 8:40 in the morning and involved an employee and their manager. Police identified the shooter as Qing Chen, 37 years old, of Seymour, and the victim as Ward R. Edwards, 49, of Columbus. According to the Seymour police chief, Edwards and Chen were meeting in a small focus room when employees heard multiple shots fired. Both men were dead when police arrived. A 9mm Glock handgun was recovered at the scene, and a search warrant is currently being served at Chen's apartment.
The plant quickly went on lockdown. Employees say the shooting was both terrifying and tragic.
“It came over the radio as a shootout on the test site of the factory. We looked at each other like what? We thought it might be practice or something. We started hearing shots fired and got out as safely and quickly as we could,” said Cummins employee Elijah Brown. Brown works on the plants assembly line.
The moment he got out of the building he got to a phone to reassure his loved ones.
“I called my family and said I don’t know what’s going on, but I want you to know I love you and right now I’m safe,” said Brown.
“We all basically had to run and get out,” said Cummins employee Simon Hinks.
Hinks and the rest of the 700 employees in the Seymour plant were told to go home for the rest of the week.
The sadness of losing a coworker is hard to comprehend.
“This is the stuff you see on television. You don’t expect to see this in real life. I don’t think it’s set in yet. I’m sure as we get home it’ll be a very sad few days,” said Hinks.
“This is a really difficult time for all of us,” said Cummins spokesman Jon Mills.
Mills repeatedly called the shooting an “isolated incident” and says the company immediately activated their emergency protocols to protect their employees.
“We’re glad it’s an isolated incident and glad most of our employees are safe, but our hearts and prayers are with the families affected and the coworkers affected,” said Mills.
“I’m just glad I’m getting in my truck and going home,” said Brown.
Cummins released a statement saying:
With sadness, we confirm there was a shooting at the Cummins Seymour Technical Center this morning. Authorities confirm there are two fatalities, both Cummins employees, and the all-clear for the facility has been given. We are working to support employees and their families at this time. We will provide further information as soon as it's available.
Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement following the shooting:
"Our hearts go out to the family of the victim of this senseless act of violence at the Cummins plant in Seymour earlier today. We commend local law enforcement for their swift response to this incident and will provide any and all support from Indiana State Police in the investigation."