The man who killed five coworkers and wounded another and five police officers at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse allegedly brought his gun to a meeting in the knowledge he was going to be fired.
Because Gary Martin brought his gun to yesterday’s meeting at the sprawling Henry Pratt Co warehouse in Aurora, he likely knew it was possible he was about to lose the job he had held for 15 years, police Chief Kristen Ziman said at a news conference.
Chief Ziman said she didn’t know what had been conveyed to Martin, why he was being fired or whether he had shown up for his regular shift or was there just for the meeting.
But she said as soon as he was fired, he pulled his handgun and began shooting.
Three of the five coworkers he killed were in the room with him and the other two were just outside, she said. A sixth employee and five police officers were shot but survived.
Frantic calls to 911 started pouring in from frightened workers at 1.24pm, and officers arrived at the scene within four minutes, authorities said.
Martin fired on the officers when they arrived, striking one outside and another near the building’s entrance.
The other three wounded officers were shot inside the building. None of their wounds are considered life-threatening, Chief Ziman said today.
All of the officers who were wounded were shot within the first five minutes of police arriving at the scene, authorities said.
Martin then hid inside the 8839-square-metre building and a search ensued.
He fired on an officer about an hour later and police fired back, killing him, authorities said.
Police identified the five slain workers as human resources manager Clayton Parks of Elgin, human resources intern and Northern Illinois University student Trevor Wehner of DeKalb, plant manager Josh Pinkard of Oswego, mold operator Russell Beyer of Yorkville, and stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez of Oswego.
The wounded worker, whose name wasn’t released, was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
A sixth police officer suffered a knee injury during the search of the building.
Martin had been arrested six times in Aurora over the years, including for domestic battery, Chief Ziman said.
He was able to buy the Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun he used in the attack because an initial background check didn’t catch that he had a prior felony conviction in Mississippi, the chief said.
Martin was issued a firearm owner’s identification card in January of 2014 after he passed the initial background check and he bought the gun that March 11.
It wasn’t until he applied for a concealed carry permit five days later and went through a more rigorous background check that uses digital fingerprinting that his 1995 felony conviction in Mississippi for aggravated battery was flagged and his firearm owner’s ID card was revoked, she said.
The shooting shocked the city of 200,000, which is 65 kilometres west of Chicago.
“For so many years, we have seen similar situations throughout our nation and the horrible feeling that we get when we see it on the news. To experience it first-hand is even more painful,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said yesterday.
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