Harvey County Sheriff who responded to deadly workplace shooting intends to retire later this year

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HESSTON, Kan. -- The Kansas sheriff who led efforts to stop last week's deadly workplace spent some time Tuesday reflecting on a day he refers to as the worst day of his life.

Sheriff T. Walton was called into action after a gunman opened fire at Excel industries in Hesston, Kan., and killed three people and hurt 14 others. Upon responding to the scene, he says his mind raced to the worst case scenario.

Hesston shooting victims

Hesston, Kan., shooting victims

"I didn't know what we had,” Walton said. “We've been getting a lot of training on terrorism, so I didn't know if that's what this may have been. And the thought in my mind, if this is terrorism, will there be more attacks coming?"

Walton says the emotions of the day weigh heavily on everyone who was there, and the last few days have been some of the hardest he's ever had to deal with.

People who work in human resources and payroll for Excel are meeting Tuesday to make sure the company's employees get paid at the end of the week. The business remains closed.

Walton is set to retire at the end of the year.

"I leave an excellent, excellent sheriff's office," Walton said. "I saw that over the last three days or four days now.  I kind of lose track of where I am with the days.  But they stepped right into leadership roles.  I couldn't be prouder."


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