Aurora Mourns Victims, Rallies One Week After Shootings

Bob Roberts
February 22, 2019 - 8:37 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Andy Dahn


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It's been a week since five people died and five police officers were wounded at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora. The funerals continue, but the mood in the community is anything but somber.

"There are signs and banners and ads in the newspaper," said Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Joseph Henning. "It's amazing seeing it just pop up everywhere."

Henning says Aurora is roaring back and says "just about every hour" he hears of a new fundraiser for the victims, their families or first responders.

He says all of this is spontaneous, not organized, although many businesses have added the "Aurora Strong" logo. Henning says it's far too early to map out an organized campaign, but says the strength being shown by Mayor Richard Irvin and his police and fire chiefs has been an example to all.

Funeral services were conducted Friday for two of the victims. Vicente Juarez, 54, an Oswego resident, was a stock room attendant and fork lift operator for Henry Pratt. Russell Beyer, 47, a Yorkville resident, was a mold operator and union chairman at Henry Pratt.

Visitation for Clayton Parks, 32, will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Willow Funeral Home, 1415 W. Algonquin Road, in Algonquin. Parks, an Elgin resident, was a human resources manager hired last November. A chapel service will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Visitation for Josh Pinkard, 37, will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Loft 212, 212 4th Street SW, Cullman, Ala. Visitation will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, with a funeral service following at 2 p.m. at Loft 212. A burial will follow in the cemetery of Redan Baptist Church. Pinkard, of Oswego, was a plant manager and transferred to Henry Pratt last spring after a dozen years in Alabama.

Services for Trevor Wehner, a 21-year-old Northern Illinois University student who was killed on the first day of his internship at the warehouse, were held Wednesday in his home town of Sheridan.