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Man accused of killing 3 at Maryland workplace charged with murder

Three people were killed after Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, allegedly opened fire at employees in a break room at Columbia Machine, Inc.
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Law enforcement officials gather on the roadway outside the entrance to Columbia Machine Inc., near Smithsburg, Md., on June 9, 2022.Timothy Jacobsen / AP

A man accused of killing three people at his Maryland workplace retrieved a handgun from his car before opening fire on employees in a break room, authorities said Friday.

Joe Louis Esquivel, 23, of West Virginia, has been charged with murder and other counts in connection with Thursday's shooting at Columbia Machine, Inc., in Smithsburg, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

Esquivel, of Hedgesville, worked before opening fire on co-workers around 2:30 p.m., officials said.

He fled in a vehicle before authorities arrived but was confronted by state police a short time later, state police said.

Esquivel opened fire on troopers, and at least one trooper returned fire and wounded him, according to state police. One trooper was also wounded in the gunfire, treated at a hospital and has been released.

Esquivel is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder, the sheriff’s office said.

He is also charged with attempted murder, assault and other counts, it said.

Esquivel is being held without bond. Online court records did not appear to show an attorney for him Friday night.

The three people killed have been identified as Mark Alan Frey, 50; Charles Edward Minnick Jr., 31; and Joshua Robert Wallace, 30.

A fourth Columbia Machine employee was wounded.