Five people were shot and killed at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois on Feb. 15 by an employee who had been terminated that day. In addition to the five civilian deaths, five responding officers were also wounded.
The shooting occurred at roughly 1:24 p.m. local time. The police department reported that they began receiving numerous 911 calls about the active shooter around that time. The Aurora Police Department stated that police officers that arrived on the scene “were fired upon immediately.”
Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman identified the shooter as 45-year-old Gary Martin, who was killed in crossfire with the police. Martin, who was employed at the Henry Pratt Co. for fifteen years prior to his termination, is believed to have acted alone in the shooting. A search of his home yielded no findings of other firearms or weapons. Aside from his employment termination, Ziman stated that they had no further evidence on what may have motivated Martin’s attack.
John Probst, who told ABC Chicago that he is an employee of the Henry Pratt Co., reported that he fled the building after witnessing a victim bleeding from a gunshot wound.
Amidst the gunfire, additional officers arrived to locate the gunshot victims in the 29,000 square foot building. The shooter is believed to have shot five of his former colleagues before he engaged in a shootout with the responding officers and then escaped into the huge building to hide. Thirteen teams arrived on the scene. It took more than 90 minutes after the onset of gunfire to locate Martin, after which he was shot and killed.
The shooting came only a day after the one year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 were killed and 17 more were injured. Aurora’s mayor, Richard Irvin, expressed frustration regarding the frequency of mass shootings in the United States.
“It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country,” said Irvin. “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. But we as a society cannot allow these horrific acts to become commonplace.”
Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois was present at a news conference shortly after the shooting and extended his condolences to the families of the victims, who are remaining unnamed until the case progresses further.
“Tomorrow the families of the victims will be less than whole,” said Pritzker. “They join a group that should not exist, and yet continues to grow.”
Two of the officers on the scene were airlifted to a local hospital for treatment of injuries, and a wounded civilian is being treated for injuries that are not expected to be life-threatening.
“My heart goes out to the victims and their families who simply went to work today like any other day,” said Ziman at the press conference.