SUPERIOR — A grain elevator in rural Nebraska is a hub of activity this time of year, with harvest season in full swing.
But Thursday afternoon, the grain elevator on the east side of Superior was a crime scene teeming with investigators attempting to sort out the events of a chilling fall day.
Max Hoskinson, a 61-year-old employee of Agrex, returned to the grain elevator's office armed with a handgun hours after he was fired Thursday and shot three people just before 2 p.m., according to the Nebraska State Patrol.
Two of the victims died, authorities said, including one who was flown to Bryan West Campus in Lincoln with life-threatening injuries and died later Thursday.
Hoskinson was shot when a fellow worker retrieved a shotgun from an office and returned fire. Hoskinson died at a local hospital, the State Patrol said.
There is no ongoing threat to the public. The third shooting victim was treated and released from a local hospital.
Superior is a community of 1,750 in south-central Nebraska, located just a few miles from the Kansas border.
Bill Blauvelt, publisher of the Superior Express, the town newspaper, told the Omaha World-Herald that Hoskinson and the people he shot were well known in the community.
"It's a small town," he said. "We all feel the pain."
From the outside, there was no indication something was amiss, Blauvelt told the World-Herald.
Blauvelt said Hoskinson was the chief grain merchandiser at the elevator and that the female co-worker who died at the scene was a merchandiser who worked for him. The merchandiser was a native of Superior who, like Hoskinson, had worked at the elevator for a number of years, Blauvelt said.
State Patrol Lt. Michael Korte said investigators spent hours Thursday talking with witnesses, including the employee who authorities say shot Hoskinson. That employee, Korte said, was not wounded.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, described the shooting as "shocking and devastating" in a statement issued Thursday afternoon, adding "(First Lady) Susanne (Shore) and I are praying for the victims of the attack."
Korte said the names of victims would be released Friday.
It's unclear how long the Agrex facility would remain closed.
Agrex, based in Overland Park, Kansas, operates elevators in four states, including the one in Superior and another near Norfolk, according to its website.
The State Patrol is investigating, with assistance from the Nuckolls County Sheriff's Office, Superior Police Department and Nuckolls County Attorney's Office.
Getting away with murder: Nebraska cold cases
Ali Saleh Al-Saidi
Ann Marie Kelley
William, Bernice and Barbara Peak
Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @andrewwegley.