Aurora shooting victims named; shooter had gun illegally, cops say

 
 
Updated 2/16/2019 9:27 PM
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  • Nancy Herron, of Aurora, left, and Aimee Maas, of Wheaton, holding her dog Paddington, gather with others Saturday for a prayer vigil outside the site of a workplace shooting in Aurora in which five employees were killed, five police officers and another civilian were wounded, and ended with the shooter's own death.

      Nancy Herron, of Aurora, left, and Aimee Maas, of Wheaton, holding her dog Paddington, gather with others Saturday for a prayer vigil outside the site of a workplace shooting in Aurora in which five employees were killed, five police officers and another civilian were wounded, and ended with the shooter's own death. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Gary Martin

    Gary Martin

  • A mass shooting Friday at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora left five employees dead and five police officers and a civilian wounded. The gunman was shot and killed by police.

      A mass shooting Friday at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora left five employees dead and five police officers and a civilian wounded. The gunman was shot and killed by police. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Greg Zanis of Aurora replaces crosses without names with new crosses with victims' names on them outside the site of an Aurora workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. The names were announced at a police news conference Saturday morning.

      Greg Zanis of Aurora replaces crosses without names with new crosses with victims' names on them outside the site of an Aurora workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. The names were announced at a police news conference Saturday morning. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • An Aurora woman carries a cross for victim Russell Beyer, of Yorkville, to the site of a workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. The shooting by an Aurora man who was in the process of being fired from his job occurred at the Henry Pratt manufacturing plant in Aurora.

      An Aurora woman carries a cross for victim Russell Beyer, of Yorkville, to the site of a workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. The shooting by an Aurora man who was in the process of being fired from his job occurred at the Henry Pratt manufacturing plant in Aurora. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • People gather around crosses outside the site of an Aurora workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death.

      People gather around crosses outside the site of an Aurora workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Nancy Herron, of Aurora, left, and Aimee Maas, of Wheaton, holding her dog Paddington, gather with others Saturday for a prayer vigil outside the site of a workplace shooting in Aurora in which five employees were killed, five police officers and another civilian were wounded, and ended with the shooter's own death.

      Nancy Herron, of Aurora, left, and Aimee Maas, of Wheaton, holding her dog Paddington, gather with others Saturday for a prayer vigil outside the site of a workplace shooting in Aurora in which five employees were killed, five police officers and another civilian were wounded, and ended with the shooter's own death. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Nancy Herron, of Aurora, pauses during a prayer vigil outside the site of a workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. The shooting by an Aurora man who was in the process of being fired from his job occurred in the 29,000-square-foot Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing warehouse at 641 Archer Ave.

      Nancy Herron, of Aurora, pauses during a prayer vigil outside the site of a workplace shooting that killed five employees, wounded five police officers and another civilian, and ended with the shooter's own death. The shooting by an Aurora man who was in the process of being fired from his job occurred in the 29,000-square-foot Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing warehouse at 641 Archer Ave. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Friday was Trevor Wehner's first day on the job at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora.

The 21-year-old human resources intern -- set to graduate from college in May -- was sitting in on an employee's termination meeting when police say the factory worker opened fire, killing five people at the manufacturing plant.

Wehner, of Sheridan, Illinois, is among those who were killed.

The victims, identified by authorities Saturday, also include Clayton Parks, of Elgin, the human resources manager hired last November; Josh Pinkard, of Oswego, the plant manager who transferred there last spring after a dozen years in Alabama; Russell Beyer, of Yorkville, a mold operator for some two decades and union chairman; and Vicente Juarez, of Oswego, a stock room attendant and fork lift operator since 2006.

Three of them were shot inside the termination meeting and two just outside the office, according to Police Chief Kristen Ziman. Another male employee was treated for gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening.

They were among nine employees in that portion of the building at the time of the shooting, according to Scott Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, the parent company of Henry Pratt.

Police were dispatched to the warehouse at 641 Archer Ave. at 1:24 p.m. Friday, and the first officers arrived four minutes later. Five cops were struck by gunfire in those first few minutes -- all of whom were treated at hospitals for injuries not considered to be life-threatening, Ziman said. A sixth officer was treated for a minor injury.

The shooter, 45-year-old Gary Montez Martin, was killed in a shootout with police at 2:59 p.m. An autopsy Saturday by the Kane County Coroner confirmed the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

"We believe officers saved lives that day by getting there as fast as they did," said Ziman, while acknowledging officers wish they could have saved more lives.

"We're thinking about the victims. That is foremost in our thoughts," she said. "It's a very somber feeling because on one hand we have some relief that all of our officers are going to be OK, but I know a lot are going through not only physical pain, but some emotional pain too."

The officers

Ziman provided an update on the six injured officers:

• A 39-year-old officer with 13 years on the force suffered a gunshot wound to his lower extremity and is in stable condition at the hospital.

• A 52-year-old officer with 25 years of service was shot in his upper extremity. He was treated and was due to be released Saturday.

• A 52-year-old officer with 24 years at the department was struck in his lower extremity, treated and released Friday.

• A 53-year-old officer with 30 years of service was shot in his lower extremity and treated.

• A 24-year-old officer with nearly four years of service received shrapnel wounds to the upper extremity. He is still being treated.

• A 23-year-old officer with two years on the job suffered a knee injury.

The shooter

Authorities on Saturday also provided more information about the shooter, who lived in the 1900 block of Selmarten Road in Aurora. Police say he was convicted of felony aggravated assault in Mississippi in 1995 -- a crime that led to his Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification card being revoked in 2014.

While his felony conviction didn't show up on a criminal-background check for the FOID card that he received in January 2014, it did show up when he submitted his fingerprints as part of an application for a concealed carry permit shortly thereafter in March.

Ziman said the investigation is examining how and why the shooter was still able to hold onto his .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun that was used Friday. Authorities have a record of Illinois State Police sending the shooter a letter instructing him to voluntarily relinquish the firearm, but Ziman said they're looking into whether law enforcement agencies followed up on that.

The shooter was arrested by Aurora police six times for traffic and domestic violence related issues -- the last one in 2008 for violating an order of protection, officials said. He was last arrested in 2017 by Oswego police for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

The investigation

Police said the shooter, a 15-year employee of Henry Pratt, was armed with the gun when he went into the termination meeting. Investigators, who spent the night combing the plant for evidence, found the firearm with an attached laser and multiple spent magazines. They believe he was acting alone.

Ziman said detectives still plan to interview another 40 witnesses including company officials about the shooter's work history and what may have led up to his firing.

In total, between 200 and 300 officers from as many as 35 law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. Eight SWAT teams of six to eight people were sent into the building, as were 13 rescue task force teams -- each with eight police officers and three fire department medical personnel.

• Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.

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