Aurora Shooting Leaves 6 Dead, Including Gunman

February 15, 2019 - 4:35 pm

AURORA, Ill.  (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Tragedy hit a manufacturing company Friday afternoon, where a gunman opened fire and killed five employees. Five police officers and an employee were also wounded, Aurora police said. The gunman was shot dead by police when they entered the building, which remained on lockdown for about two hours after the incident.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman identified the gunman as 45-year-old Gary Martin, who was an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. who was recently laid off, according to multiple witness accounts.

At this time, police said they did not know the gunman's motive.

"May God bless the brave law enforcement officers who continue to run toward danger," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the news conference.

Hospitals reported treating at least seven patients from the shooting, though their conditions weren't released. Two of the officers were airlifted to trauma centers in Chicago, Ziman said. She said a sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Officials did not say the total number of people injured including police and civilians.

Dozens of first responder vehicles converged on the building housing the company in Aurora after police received multiple calls about an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. CST.

Several ATF teams also responded to the shooting and were at the scene, according to the agency's Chicago spokeswoman, and the FBI said it also responded.

John Probst, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, told ABC7 that he ran out of the back door as the shooting unfolded Friday afternoon. Probst says he recognized the gunman and that he works for the company.

"What I saw was the guy running down the aisle with a pistol with a laser on it," Probst said.

Probst said he wasn't hurt but that another colleague was "bleeding pretty bad."  

Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin shared his consolences to the family.

"It's a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country. It's a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life," Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said.

At Acorn Woods Condominiums where Martin lived, a mix of brick apartments and condos nestled on a quiet street just a mile and a half from the shooting, neighbors gathered on sidewalks near Martin's unit talking and wondering among themselves if they knew or had come in contact with him.

Mary McKnight stepped out of her car with a cherry cheesecake purchased for her son's birthday, to find a flurry of police cars, officers and media trucks.

"This is a strange thing to come home to, right," she said. She had just learned that the shooter lived close by and his unit in the complex had been taped off by police.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump tweeted his thanks to law enforcement officers in Aurora and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. "America is with you," he said.

Mercy Hospital treated some of the patients and two were taken to trauma centers in Chicago. Police also searched the gunman's home and deployed a bomb detection, though no evidence has been found yet.