A former warehouse employee who was recently fired stormed through his old workplace in Chicago’s far-western suburb of Aurora Friday afternoon, killing five workers, including an intern, and injuring five police officers, the Aurora Beacon-News reports.
The gunman, whom authorities identified as Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police at Aurora’s Henry Pratt Co.
Mr Martin had a felony record, which only surfaced when he applied for a concealed carry permit, not when he initially applied for employment, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to court records in Mississippi, he pleaded guilty and served a couple years for hitting his girlfriend with an aluminum baseball bat and stabbing her repeatedly with a butcher knife after she asked him to get his things and leave the relationship.
This time, after he was asked to leave employment at Pratt, which manufactures industrial valves, he used a gun, not a butcher knife or baseball bat to cause death.
“You never think it’s going to happen here, and I never would have thought that in a million years,” the Beacon-News quoted Colleen Hardekopf of The Flower Basket, a shop near Pratt that has offered free floral arrangements for the funeral services, as saying. “This is a wake-up call for all of us.”
The warehouse is about a mile, as the crow flies, from West Aurora High School, and only a few buildings in an industrial park separate the warehouse from Holy Angels Catholic School.
West Aurora High School went on a soft lockdown and held students in place as soon as they were made aware of the situation.
There are reports of an active shooter at the Henry Pratt building near Cleveland and Prairie just east of Luigi’s Pizza, as a result, we are holding all district students in place for their safety,… https://t.co/jVV1FNOg5v
— School District 129 (@sd129) February 15, 2019
The soft lockdown was lifted just after 3:30, and buses started transporting students home, according to District 129’s Twitter account. As can be expected, however, the school district started cancelling evening activities as the situation cleared. Among the cancelled events were freshman and sophomore basketball games and several team practices.
— School District 129 (@sd129) February 16, 2019