An Aurora man who was being fired from his job, opened fire at his place of employment Friday afternoon killing five people and wounding five police officers.
The gunman, identified as Gary Martin, 45. was also killed.
Martin was an employee of the Henry Pratt Co., located near the intersection Highland Avenue and Archer on Aurora’s South Side, according to Aurora police.
He was being terminated from the company after 15 years of employment. It was not clear as of Friday night why he was being let go from his job.
While identities of the dead have still not been released, Aurora police said all of them were men.
Martin had a criminal history and Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the investigators were looking into that.
A bomb squad was sent to his home Friday evening to search for possible explosives but Ziman said there was nothing new to report.
None of the five wounded police officers were in critical condition or experiencing life-threatening injuries as of 9:30 p.m., according to Ziman.
All of the officers who were shot were wounded within the first five minutes of arriving on the scene around 1:28 p.m., Ziman said.
It was then that Martin retreated into the interior of the building, she said. The incident lasted approximately 90 minutes before Martin was found and killed by police.
Investigators remained on the scene Friday night collecting evidence.
Ziman thanked all responding police units from throughout the region for their “selfless act.”
Ziman said family members of those killed were instructed to go to Aurora University for “a reunification of the victims and witnesses that were in the building.”
“My heart goes out to those victims and their families who simply went to work today like any other day. We offer our sincere condolences,” Ziman said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker appeared with Aurora officials at the press conference, praising the first responders and offering his sympathy to the families of those killed in the shooting.
“There are no words I can offer to lessen the pain, but know our state grieves with you,” Pritzker said.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said it was difficult to deal firsthand with a mass shooting – a scene, he said, that has become all too common in our country.
“We as a society cannot allow horrific acts to become commonplace,” Irvin said. “We must never forget the people who were senselessly gunned down. We must never forget the police officers who rose to the call of duty.”
The shooting prompted a massive response by police from the immediate region and as far away as Joliet and Oak Brook Terrace. Streets leading to the factory were blocked with flashing lights of scores of first responder vehicles visible from a distance. Sirens pierced the air as more police arrived at the scene.
The area also contains private homes, Holy Angels Elementary School and a large park and Fox Valley Park District facility. Aurora University is several blocks from the scene. Students were warned via text message to “shelter in place.”
The Henry Pratt Co., is said to be North America’s largest manufacturers of valves for the potable water, wastewater, power generation and industrial markets. The company is a a subsidiary of Mueller Water Products, Inc., a NYSE publicly traded company headquartered in Atlanta.