HESSTON, Kan. -- People are gathering Friday night in a vacant lot in Hesston to remember the three killed and 14 injured when one of their co-workers, Cedric Ford, 38, opened fire at the Excel Industries on Thursday.
Hesston is a small town of about 3,700 residents on I-35 between Wichita and Salina.
"Everyone that works here is like a second family to you. I mean you see them every day, 10 hours a day," said Esteban Castillo, an employee at the plant.
"They were just a nice persons, good to be around, high energy," said Castillo about his co-workers.
He personally knows one of the victims and some of the wounded. He made a sign of the cross as he left flowers and a rosary along the road outside the plant, where he has worked for two years.
The community was rocked by Thursday afternoon's mass shooting at the plant. Some told FOX 4's John Pepitone that they had moved to Harvey County to get away from city problems in nearby Wichita.
"There`s been a lot of expansion. I think we are getting a lot of out-of-towners that are working for these companies here in town like Excel. They are not from this area. I don`t know maybe somebody didn`t do the right background check they should have on some of these people," said Gary Miller, a Hesston resident.
Miller says many in town who received calls about the shooting hunkered down in their homes and locked their doors for the first time.
The last time Hesston found itself in the national news, it was March 13, 1990 when an EF-5 tornado roared through the town and destroyed nearly 250 homes and businesses. It killed one and injured dozens.
The gathering to remember the victims, Renee Benjamin, 30, Joshua Higbee, 31, and Brian Sadowsky, 44, is at Highway 81 and Ridge in Hesston.