Update: West Virginia man charged in three fatal shootings at Maryland plant

A 23-year-old West Virginia man is now charged in the fatal shootings of three workers at a concrete molding company in western Maryland.

Joe Esquivel

Authorities announced Friday night multiple murder charges against Joe Esquivel of Hedgesville.

Esquivel worked at Columbia Machine in Smithburg, Maryland where the shootings  took place Thursday afternoon.

He’s charged with three counts of first degree murder, three counts of second degree murder, three counts each of first and second degree assault, attempted first and second degree murder, attempted first and second degree assault, reckless endangerment and use of a gun in a violent crime.

He’s being held without bail.

Investigators Friday said the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office helped investigators execute a search warrant at Esquivel’s residence, and additional firearms were located.

The victims were identified as Mark Allan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30. Another injured victim was found outside the company. All were employees of Columbia Machine Inc.

Investigators said Friday that Esquivel  arrived for his normal work shift at Columbia Machine, Inc. and worked throughout the day.

Authorities said he exited the building Thursday afternoon, retrieved a weapon from his vehicle and reentered the business. Esquivel proceeded to the area of the breakroom and begin to fire upon employees, claiming three lives and injuring three other workers.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 call about 2:30 p.m.

Sheriff Douglas Mullendore of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in Maryland said during a press conference Thursday that the suspect initially fled in a vehicle. He said Maryland State Police then encountered the vehicle.

“The suspect and the trooper exchanged fire. Both subjects were injured,” he said, saying they were transported for treatment.

The sheriff said the suspect used a semiautomatic handgun but did not yet release the specific kind.

“The motive for the shooting also has not yet been determined at this time,” Mullendore said.

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