Gary Martin

Aurora Police

Aurora Shooter Came To Work Armed, Knew He Was To Be Terminated: Police

February 16, 2019 - 3:33 pm
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AURORA (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The gunman at an Aurora manufacturing plant had learned he was being terminated before he opened fire on his colleagues Friday, killing five of them and injuring several others in a shooting that has shocked the western suburbs.

The gunman, Gary Martin, 45, of the 1900 block of Selmarten Road in Aurora, also died at the scene.

He had been employed at the Henry Pratt Co. for 15 years, and was fired for several, unspecified workplace violations, said Scott Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, Henry Pratt's parent company. He was given a background check at the time and nothing suspicious came up. Hall spoke at a news conference late Saturday afternoon.

On Friday, Martin came to work at armed with a .40 caliber handgun, several magazines and a laser sight. On Saturday, Police Chief Kristen Ziman said that they believe he came with the understanding that he would be let go from his job that day.

He killed three of his five co-workers in the room with him and two others were just outside, she said.

Authorities search an apartment complex Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill., where the gunman who fatally shot several people at a manufacturing complex in the city is believed to have lived.
Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald via AP

Police said that Martin briefly held a Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Card until a background check for a concealed carry permit showed that he was convicted of a felony for aggravated assault in Mississippi in 1995. He also had an arrest record that included six incidents over the years in Aurora alone  that included traffic violations and domestic violence-related issues. In 2017, he was arrested by Oswego police for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

Ziman said that he should not have had a gun.

All of the officers who were wounded were shot within the first five minutes of police arriving at the scene, authorities said. After that flurry of shots and with officers from throughout the region streaming in to help, Martin ran off and hid inside the 29,000-square-foot building.

Police used an armored rescue vehicle called a Bearcat to enter the building, said Aurora police Lt. Rick Robertson. 

A dramatic timeline released by Aurora police show how quickly the gun battle unfolded:

  • 1:24: Active shooter calls come in. Gunfire can be heard in some calls. One caller reported that shots were fired after an employee was terminated.
  • 1:28: Officers arrive at the scene.
  • 1:30: First officer reported shot.
  • 1:32: Second officer reported shot.
  • 1:34: Third officer reported shot.
  • 1:35: Fourth officer reported shot.
  • 1:35 to 1:52 p.m. Injured officers evacuated from building.
  • 1:52 to  2:58: No contact made with the offender as police search the building.
  • 2:58: Police report they found the shooter in a machine shop in the back of the building.
  • 2:59: Suspect and officers exchanged fire. Suspect is killed.

Aurora Shooting

On Saturday, authorities released the names of those who died in the incident. They are: Clayton Parks, of Elgin, a human resources manager; Trevor Wehner, of DeKalb, a human resources intern; Russell Beyer, of Yorkville,  a mold operator; Vicente Juarez, of Oswego, a stock room attendant; and Josh Pinkard, of Oswego, a plant manager. They were all employees of Henry Pratt Co. where the shooter also worked.

Wehner,21, was on the first day of his internship at Henry Pratt. A colleague from restaurant Tom & Jerry's, where he also worked, called him a "good kid."

Wehner was on the dean's list at NIU's business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.

"He always, always was happy. I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can't say anything but nice things about him," said Jay Wehner of his nephew.

By Saturday afternoon, offers of condolences and support came pouring in. A group called Aurora Strong opened a GoFundMe campaign for the families of all of the victims. A prayer vigil will be held Sunday at 2:30 at the manufacturing company.

Police also released information about the officers who responded to the shooting. They recovering and are under the care of physicians in the Chicago metro area. They are described as:

  • Officer 1 – Male, 39, with 13 years of service at the Aurora Police Department. Gunshot wound, lower body.
  • Officer 2 – Male, 52, with 25 years of service at the Aurora Police Department. Gunshot wound, lower body.
  • Officer 3 – Male, 52, 24 years of service here at the Aurora Police Department. Gunshot wound, lower body.
  • Officer 4 - Male, 53, 30 years of service. Gunshot wound, lower body.
  • Officer 5 - Male, 24, with less than four years of service. Shrapnel wounds, upper body.
  • Officer 6 - Male, 23,  two years of police service. Suffered a minor injury while responding to the incident. This injury was not related to gunfire.

All of the officers’ injuries are non-life-threatening.

Material from © Copyright 2019 The Associated Press also was used. Reporting and writing by Erika Hobbs.