Community comes together by candlelight to remember victims of Hesston factory shooting

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HESSTON, Kan. -- Hundreds attended vigils on Friday night to remember three innocent people killed on Thursday at Excel Industries. The names of the deceased victims were released on Friday: 31-year-old Joshua Higbee, 44-year-old Brian Sadowsky and 30-year-old Renee Benjamin.


FOX 4 heard from friends and family of two of the three people killed by their co-worker. FOX 4’s Dave D’Marko was told both were full of life and dedicated workers, who of course had no idea they`d clock in for a final time Thursday.

Brian Sadowsky was a laser operator working the second shift at Excel Industries on Thursday, when Cedric Ford went on a shooting rampage. Sadowsky`s sister, who also worked at the lawnmower parts plant, could hear the gunfire.

“Everybody was helping each other out and people were dragging each other, I never thought everybody would band together like that but they did,” said Sarah Thomson.

As people ran away from the scene, family says Sadowsky, the plant`s safety leader, stayed by to assist others.

“That`s why he lost his life, because he was taking care of somebody else,” said Sadowsky’s cousin Dave Prine.

The 44-year old`s family prayed privately outside the plant Friday night.

Hundreds of his former co-workers and community members marched past the plant to a nearby park, where they remembered other victims including, Renee Benjamin.

“We were devastated, we dropped to the floor crying and hoping that it wasn`t that,” said friend Jessica Stevenson.

“People who were on her line, she would come home and talk about and you would almost feel like you were there,” said Benjamin’s roommate Dominique Woods.

There were prayers for those who survived and have a long road to recovery ahead of them, and prayers for the co-workers who will at one point have to return to the scene of the deadly shooting.

“One of our guys did it and it`s really unreal to think,” said employee Shane McChesney.

Tears were shed by those who survived the hail of gunfire, and even more tears for those who didn`t.

“I hope he rests in peace,” said Thomson.

At this point it`s unclear when workers will return to the plant here. Investigators say they have several days’ work ahead of them.

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