Excel employee starts new job the same day as shooting

Gray says he can only imagine what could have happened

HESSTON, Kansas. (KSNW) – For William Gray, it was his first day on the job at Excel, and one that he will never forget. Moving here from El Dorado and finding a home and work were top priorities. He says he’s still shaken up about what happened so close to home in more than one way.

Gray arrived early and prepared to start a new beginning on the assembly line unaware that it would have such a tragic end.

“An hour or so later, we hear two pops go off and then we thought it was just a lawnmower backfiring. We hear it again and people are running saying somebody’s shooting, get out of the building,” said William Gray.

From there, Gray says he ran into another building on site, but then, he was facing more danger.

“I was at least, not even 5 feet, I was right by the doorway and bullets were hitting the wall right by the door.”

For Gray, like so many others at the scene that unfolded Thursday, the only thought he had was getting to safety.

“I was trying to figure out the safest way to get out because the noise was echoing so it was hard to tell, to pin point where the gun was. And I was just trying to figure out a way to get out alive.”

But soon he would find that even his home was far from a safe haven.

Living just two streets down in the same mobile home park as the man police say was the shooter, Cedric Ford, he was told he needed to evacuate.

Gray says he can only imagine what could have happened.

“Luckily, he didn’t snap here, start shooting everybody here. I wish nobody would have got injured or killed.”

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