Five workers dead; five officers injured in Illinois rampage
Gary Martin shot five co-workers to death and wounded five police officers at an Aurora, Illinois manufacturing company. Martin was a disgruntled factory worker with a violent felony history who had just lost his job.
Before allegedly killing five of his co-workers, Martin went into his local Circle K convenience store for his almost daily purchase of a few cigars. He seemed fine, said the clerks at the store.
“He came in almost every day and bought two or three Black & Mild cigars,” said Ricardo Moreno, 24, a clerk at a Circle K blocks from Martin’s apartment.
Moreno said Martin was an engaging, happy customer who made a difference in the life of a clerk at the store. The two used to chat about life, and work and Moreno used to kid Martin about his smoking habit.
Mary McKnight, Martin’s next-door neighbor, told CNN she wasn’t that close with him but the two would say hi in passing at their Aurora apartment complex.
“He seemed very friendly. He said hi to a lot of people who came and went. I’m kind of shocked, I guess,” said McKnight, who said she moved into the complex over the summer. “I’m sad and shocked, and you kind of never know.”
Officials said, after he left the store on Friday, Martin went to his place of work and fatally shot his co-workers and six police officers before the police killed him.
Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman:
“We know he was a 15-year veteran and information that we have indicates that he was being terminated today.”
Kristen Ziman also revealed that Martin opened fire at the termination meeting. All of them were male employees, and many of them were at that meeting.
A company official said he had been going through a disciplinary procedure and he had been written up before while it is still unknown whether Martin knew he was about to be fired.
After the meeting got adjourned, Martin took out his pistol and began to kill people; witnesses told police. He also shot at responding police, wounding five, before going into hiding in the back of the facility.
Martin’s family said he was laid off, and Ziman said she didn’t know why Martin was being fired or whether he had planned the mass shooting. However, he was an employee until the day of the shooting, she added.
“He was way too stressed out,” Martin’s mother said, according to the newspaper, confirming her son was dead.
The suspect got killed by the police at the scene. The victims were identified as Trevor Wehner, Clayton Parks, Vicente Juarez, Russell Beyer, and Josh Pinkard. The weapon was a Smith & Wesson handgun.
The CEO Scott Hall who owns the Henry Pratt Co. said the company has a set of a disciplinary process before firing someone.
“To be at the final step he would have been through previous steps,” Hall said. Martin was being terminated for the culmination of various workplace rules violations, he added.