HESSTON, Kan. – The shooting spree in central Kansas left three people dead, 14 injured and a community grieving. All three people who died worked at the Excel Industries factory and were there when co-worker Cedric L. Ford opened fire Thursday afternoon.
Here are the stories of their lives, as told by family and friends:
BRIAN SADOWSKY, 44
The Newton man was remembered by co-workers at a candlelight vigil Friday as a very outgoing guy who was always telling jokes and was fun to be around.
“He will be missed,” said Rick Lett, a friend since high school.
Sadowsky was a rabid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Lett said. He wore the team’s gear to work every game day, would bet on the games with co-workers and make those who lost the bets wear Steelers-stamped clothing for a week.
He also enjoyed listening to heavy metal music and talking about it with co-workers who shared his love for it.
Lett worked an earlier shift on Thursday, and recalled his friend’s last words to him as Sadowsky came in for that fateful second shift: “Have a good evening, brother.”
“At Excel, we are like a family,” Lett said.
RENEE BENJAMIN, 30
Benjamin would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it, friends and family said Friday.
Dominique Woods tearfully honored her partner of three years — and the others whose loved ones’ lives were shattered by the violence — with the release of helium balloons at a candlelight vigil Friday night near the factory.
Woods struggled to put her loss into words: “I am trying to explain my pain to people.”
Benjamin was a good artist, and “good with her words,” she said.
“She was a really good person, she loved everybody,” Woods said.
A co-worker, Ryan Bartel, recalled that Benjamin “always had a ready smile.”
JOSH HIGBEE, 31
A welder at Excel Industries, the Buhler man as an engaged car lover, avid fisherman and a devoted father, his family says.
His sister-in-law, LaShonda Hinson, told the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/1Qm2Y9D ) that Higbee “was taught to be a very loving, kind man,” and adored his 4-year-old son.
His brother, Nathaniel Hinson, said Higbee was always known as a “Mr. Fix-It.”
The newspaper reports that Higbee was adopted into the Hinson family at age 2.