Report: Aurora shooter tried to kill himself when cornered by police

 
 
Updated 4/16/2019 5:10 PM
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As police converged, pinning him down at Aurora's Henry Pratt Co. on Feb. 15, the gunman who had shot and killed five co-workers apparently tried to take his own life.

A forensic pathology report about his death, released Tuesday at the request of several newspapers, indicates the shooter placed a gun near his right jaw and shot himself.

Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said officials can't determine if that was the shot that killed him or if it was one of the five fired by police officers that struck him -- although the latter appears most likely.

Investigators and witnesses indicated the self-inflicted shot went off within milliseconds of the police shots, Russell said.

"It could have gone either way, yes, but we did not have enough information to believe that the self-inflicted shot was the one that killed him," he said.

The police shots struck the 47-year-old shooter in the middle of his forehead, twice in the left front chest, once in the right front chest, and in the upper abdomen, according to forensic pathologist Dr. Mitra Kalelkar's report.

Tests of the shooter's blood and urine showed metabolites of THC. The level on one test indicated he may have been a chronic user of cannabis.

Reports on how his five victims were killed also were released.

All were shot multiple times, and all were shot in the head.

Killed in the attack were Trevor Wehner, 21, of DeKalb, a human resources intern on his first day on the job and set to graduate in May from Northern Illinois University; Clayton Parks, 32, of Elgin, the human resources manager hired last November; Josh Pinkard, 37, of Oswego, the plant manager who transferred there last spring after a dozen years in Alabama; Russell Beyer, 47, of Yorkville, a mold operator for two decades and union chairman; and Vicente Juarez, 54, of Oswego, a stock room attendant and forklift operator since 2006.

Wehner was shot five times, Beyer was shot three times, Parks four times, Juarez six times and Pinkard three times. There was no evidence the shots occurred at close range, unlike the shooter's self-inflicted wound, which left soot and powder marks.

The shooter was a 15-year worker at Pratt. He was asked to attend a meeting that day with company officials. A union steward who attended the meeting said it was about an allegation the man was breaking safety rules by altering his protective eyewear.

The meeting happened on the first floor of the warehouse/manufacturing building on the Pratt campus. The five victims and the steward were all in the room. The steward was shot in the arm, but managed to escape.

After shooting his co-workers, the shooter ran to the main part of the building. He shot at police officers as they approached and entered the building, hitting five. A sixth was injured by shattered glass.

Officers from Aurora, Naperville and other police agencies searched the building and ultimately cornered the shooter. He shot at three officers, and they shot back.

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