Aurora Mass Shooting: 6 Dead, Cops Wounded

AURORA, IL — Six people are dead, including the gunman, after a mass shooting in Aurora at Henry Pratt Company’s manufacturing and warehouse building, located at 641 Archer Ave., Friday. Five Aurora police officers were shot and are being treated at nearby hospitals for injuries that were not life-threatening, city officials said. The shooter was identified as Gary Martin, 45, a 15-year veteran of the company who police say was fired from Pratt Friday afternoon.

At least one other employee was injured during the shooting and was rushed to a nearby hospital, police said during a Friday night press conference.

“My heart goes out to the victims and their families who simply went to work today, just like any other day,” Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said in a press conference. She said Martin used a Smith & Wesson handgun in the killings.

Names of the deceased employees and injured police officers have not been released, pending family notification, Ziman said.

Five officers were struck by gunfire and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to Ziman, and another officer suffered a knee injury. The injured officers were taken to area hospitals, including two who were airlifted to trauma centers, she said.

“You rushed toward danger and in doing that you saved countless lives,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said of the brave actions of Aurora Police during the 5:30 p.m. press conference.

“There is no way to prepare for the pain of losing innocent people. In the state that you were elected to lead, the state that you were elected to protect,” Pritzker added. “There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams and their futures. Tomorrow, the families of the victims will be less than whole. They belong to a group that should not exist, yet continues to grow. To the families of the victims here in Aurora, there are no words that I can offer to lessen the pain, but our state grieves with you. May their memory fuel our work to bring peace to this state.”

Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said he expects “a long and painful healing process … but we will heal. We will come together as one community and stand by those in pain from this great loss.” Irvin added, “It’s a shame that a cold and heartless offender could be so selfish as to think he has the right to take innocent life.”

Police said an investigation into the mass shooting continues with the assistance of the ATF, FBI and Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, and a search of Martin’s home is planned. “Investigators have also obtained a search warrant for the offender’s residence in an attempt to locate any evidence which might further the investigation,” police said late Friday.

Timeline of Shooting

Police say they received multiple calls reporting an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. Friday. Officers arrived just four minutes later and were “fired on immediately,” Ziman said. Additional officers who went into the facility also took fire, and located several gunshot victims inside the building, she said. Ziman added that all the officers who were shot were hit within the first five minutes after they arrived.

The shooter then retreated further into the 29,000-square-foot building to hide until officers located him. Martin then fired on officers, who returned fire, killing him, Ziman said.

The White House told the Associated Press that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident.

“(The shooter) just went ballistic,” John Probst, who works at Henry Pratt and was in the building at the time, told ABC. “[One victim] came running down; he was bleeding pretty bad.”

Probst said he recognized the shooter as a coworker. Probst said Martin was “rolling down the aisles” with “a pistol with a laser on it.”

Related: 5 Dead, Officers Wounded In Aurora, Illinois Shooting: Photos

ABC was on the scene with a live chopper feed. Multiple ambulances and fire trucks could be seen standing by near the scene.

Government officials took to social media after the shooting to share their support for Aurora police and residents.

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police said the injured officers are members of Aurora FOP Lodge #11. FOP officials said, “Every police officer dreads days like this one, yet these four courageous Aurora officers and their colleagues did not hesitate to literally put their lives on the line today to stop further bloodshed.”

About Henry Pratt Company

Henry Pratt Company is located at 401 S. Highland Ave near Prairie Street. The manufacturing and warehouse building, where the shooting took place, is located at 641 Archer Ave. The large company is more than a century old and is a manufacturer of valves for the potable water, wastewater, power generation and industrial markets. Some 200 employees work at the plant, though it is unclear how many were present at the time of the shooting.

Mueller Water Products, which owns the Henry Pratt facility, posted a statement on its website after the shooting:

“Mueller Water Products is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred today at our Henry Pratt facility in Aurora, Illinois. Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the first responders, the Aurora community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time. Our entire focus is on the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, and we are committed to providing any and all support to them and their families. We continue to work closely with law enforcement, with whom we share our deepest gratitude for their support. We will provide updates as we learn more.

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