2 dead at Seymour Cummins Engine Plant


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For more coverage of the shooting incident, make sure to get Friday's newspaper.

4:55 p.m. Police release name of suspect

Police say the suspect in the shooting is Qing Chen, 37, a resident of Seymour.

Both Chen and his victim, Ward R. Edwards, 49, of Columbus, were dead when officers arrived on the scene. Both had been shot, police said.

A 9mm Glock handgun was recovered at the scene.

The investigation has revealed that Edwards was Chen’s direct supervisor.

Search warrants have been served on both the victim’s and suspect’s vehicles.

A search warrant is currently being served on Chen’s apartment in Seymour.

4:42 p.m. Columbus man killed in shooting

Seymour police have released the name of the manager who was shot and killed this morning at Cummins Seymour Technical Center.

Ward R. Edwards, 49, of Columbus, was pronounced dead the scene as a result of the shooting that involved another Cummins employee.

4:15 p.m.: Seymour mayor comments on shooting

Mayor Craig Luedeman said he was at a loss for words in describing the impact the shootings have had on the community.

"Obviously, it's a tragedy and something you never want to see happen in your community," he said. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and all the people who work there."

"It makes you want to hug your loved ones a little tighter when you get home from work," he said.

Luedeman commended police response, saying they were able to call in as many resources as they needed to get the situation under control.

"They were acting on what they know and what they are trained to do," he said of police action.

Although he had not been in contact with anyone from Cummins today, Luedeman said he would be reaching out to the company in the next day or two to provide any assistance and support the city could offer.

3 p.m.: Autopsies planned

Autopsies are scheduled for 8 a.m. Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, for the two people who died in a murder-suicide at Cummins Seymour Technical Center, Jackson County Coroner Roger Wheeler reported Thursday afternoon.

He and Seymour Detective Greg O'Brien plan to attend the autopsies to be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

1:40 p.m.: Worker and manager involved in incident

A Cummins Inc. spokesman says the two men fatally shot in an apparent murder-suicide at a company engine factory in southern Indiana were a manager and a worker.

Cummins spokesman Jon Mills says the slain manager had supervised the worker. He declined to comment further.

Mills says the men were found dead in a new technical and office center attached to the company's Seymour Engine Plant.

He says the plant about 60 miles south of Indianapolis will be closed until Monday. He says counselors will be on hand to help workers deal with the tragedy.

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott declined to characterize the shootings, citing the ongoing investigation. But Indiana State Police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said preliminary information indicated it was an apparent murder-suicide.

12:30 p.m. Two to four shots fired; Cummins plant closed until Monday

Names of the deceased have not been released pending identification of one of the victims and notification of family members.

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said the department received several 911 calls reporting a shooting or shots fired at the building. Local schools, including nearby Seymour Middle School, were put on lockdown too.

"Once we arrived on the scene, we were directed to the new tech center building, specifically to the second floor, where we were told anywhere from two to four shots were fired," Abbot said in a news conference Thursday morning.

Two men, both of whom were dead, were located in a meeting room on the second floor of the tech center, Abbott said.

The new tech center expansion, located on East Fourth Street opened last fall.

Employees evacuated the building immediately, many thinking it was a fire alarm.

No one else was injured as a result of the shooting or evacuation, police said.

One employee said everyone went to an evacuation area outside in the parking lot in the rain.

She was not aware of the company having an active shooter plan in place and said they had never before practiced such a drill.

Although she's never felt unsafe at work in the past, things will feel different now, she said.

"I guarantee you we will have drills and plans in place after this," she said. "Security tends to go overboard with any situation. I wouldn't be surprised if they install metal detectors and check bags now."

Another employee said she never heard the shots fired, but knew something had happened when emergency response team members were running around telling everyone to get out because there was an active shooter.

"We knew where to go, but we have never had a drill of these sorts," she said. " Makes me wish ERTs or guards could carry defense weapons or that we had more guard stations."

The building was secured after an initial search.

Officers with SPD, the Indiana State Police and Columbus Police Department SWAT teams along with other area law enforcement agencies completed a secondary search of the facility in cooperation with Cummins Emergency Response Team.

Employees were able to return to the building around 11:45 a.m. to retrieve personal items, but were being sent home and did not have to return until Monday, an employee said.

Police provided little detail about the investigation.

"It's a very involved scene and investigation process," he said. "Once we have more information, I will release at a later time."

Right now, it's as best as it can be, Abbott said of the situation.

"We want to express a lot of sympathy for the families and friends of the victims," he added.

10:52 a.m. Governor going to Seymour

Gov. Mike Pence is going to the plant to be briefed about the investigation.

10:50 a.m.: "I just happened to turn around and see people yelling and everybody running'

Standing among the group of employees under the shelter house at Shields Park was a Seymour man who has worked at Cummins for 16 years.

He said he has gone through fire and tornado drills before. The fire drill was put into use a few years ago when he said there was a fire at the plant.

But he said he has never gone through an active-shooter drill.

"I was in my own little area in the middle of the plant," he said. "I just happened to turn around and see people yelling and everybody running, and I'm like, 'Wow! Somebody must have gotten hurt or something.'"

Then a supervisor for the area came running toward him and told him to get out of the building.

"It wasn't until I actually got outside of the building, and I heard somebody say the word 'active shooter'" that he realized what was going on, he said.

The man said he's not a person that typically "freaks out" about situations, but he was curious as to who the shooter was and if it's someone he knew.

There was just a lot of unknown.

"The very few times I've been in a (similar) situation, it's like slow motion kind of," he said. "Maybe it registers. Maybe it doesn't."

10:46 a.m.: "I can't believe it happened here."

"Shock." "I can't believe it happened here." "I'm worried about my co-workers."

Those thoughts ran through the mind of a Cummins Seymour Engine Plant employee as she stood on a sidewalk several blocks away holding an umbrella after being told to leave the building.

It wasn't a fire alarm or a weather warning. It was because of an active shooter in the Seymour Technical Center, which sits in front of the Cummins plant along East Fourth Street in Seymour.

"It's more about now just making sure everybody's safe and out and that everybody's OK," the woman said.

Since she first thought it was a fire drill, she just grabbed her umbrella and her cellphone and headed outside. Then she was told it wasn't a drill. There was an active shooter, and employees needed to get as far away from the facility as possible.

10:44 a.m.: Governor releases statement

Gov. Mike Pence released the following statement on the reported shooting at the Cummins plant in Seymour this morning:

"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."

10:20 a.m.: Plant on lockdown

Sgt. Stephen Wheeles says preliminary reports are that one person was shot dead at the Cummins plant in Seymour and that the assailant then committed suicide.

Cummins spokesman Jon Mills says the company's facilities in the Seymour and Columbus areas were on lockdown while the attack was being investigated.

10:05 a.m. Murder-suicide, police say

Sgt. Stephen Wheeles ‎of Indiana State Police reports: I am en route to the Cummins Engine Plant in Seymour. This is not an active shooter situation at this time. Believed to be murder/suicide.

9:52 a.m. Employees barricaded in offices

Employees who had barricaded themselves inside offices, continue to be escorted to safety after a shooting at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant left two dead.

9:46 a.m. News conference planned

Police plan to release their first official statement about the shooting incident at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant at 10 a.m.

Police also are continuing to clear the building of all employees at this time.

9 a.m. Two dead at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant

Two people are dead, one of whom was suspected to be the shooter, according to officials.

Police responded to an active shooter reported at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant at 800 E. Third St. in Seymour around 8:40 a.m. today.

According to reports, the shooting took place on the second floor of the building in a meeting room on the southwest corner.

Police secured the building and surrounding area.

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