At least five civilians dead and five officers wounded in shooting in Aurora, Ill., officials say – INFORUM
Aurora Police Chief Kristin Zimen confirmed the suspect, 45-year-old Gary Martin, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police after shooting several civilians as well as officers who rushed to the Henry Pratt Company warehouse after reports of gunfire. It was not immediately clear if the five fatalities included Martin.
Zimen said during a brief news conference that officers were “fired upon immediately” upon responding to the 29,000 square-foot warehouse at about 1:30 p.m. Central time. Police believe Martin was an employee at the warehouse.
Tameka Martin, who identified herself to WBEZ Chicago as the sister of the gunman, said Martin was laid off from Henry Pratt two weeks ago. She said Martin had worked there at least 20 years.
“He shot officers, so if they did shoot him and kill him, they was, I guess, defending themselves.” Martin told WBEZ.
Police say the five wounded officers were taken to local hospitals, two of whom were transferred to trauma centers. A sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Police did not take questions but scheduled a second news conference Friday night. Police did not specify if any others were injured, or how many.
Gabriel Gonzales, an Iraq War Marine veteran who can see the Henry Pratt warehouse from his front yard, said the number of police vehicles, flashing lights and armored cars Friday afternoon were giving him flashbacks.
“When you are a combat zone you expect it,” said Gonzales. “I’ve never seen this many police officers anywhere.”
He was watching his grandchildren, who were mesmerized by the activity unfolding through the window, and worrying about their brother Anthony, whose school was put under lockdown.
“My grandson had a school lockdown at 8 years old. I mean, can you believe that?” Gonzalez said. “Back when I was a kid, it was just tornadoes.”
Tiffany Probst, 38, a legal assistant said her best friend saw a post on Facebook about the shooting and she started texting “that your dad might be inside!”
Her father, John, has worked as a machinist in the building for over 40 years. He has three grown children and has five grandchildren. Probst raced down to the factory but it was all blocked by police.
“I knew there was no way to call him because he’s old school and never has a cellphone,” then she heard from friends father was giving TV interviews and talking with the police.
“He’s safe and talking to the news,” she said. “He’s not much of a talker, but when it comes to this, I can tell by his voice he’s real shaken up. We are looking forward to giving him a hug.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., tweeted Friday that she was following the situation. “This is a scary, sad day for all Illinoisans and Americans,” Duckworth wrote. “Thank you to the brave first responders who risked their lives this afternoon and apprehended the shooter.”
“My heart breaks for Aurora,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., tweeted. “I’m tracking updates on the situation with my staff. Thank you to the members of law enforcement who are responding to the emergency.”
Nancy Caal, who works at Erwin’s Truck Repair near the scene of the shooting, told The Post that she heard the din of sirens as police cars and ambulances rushed to the building behind hers.
She and two others put the shop on lockdown when they saw heavily armed officers heading toward the adjacent Henry Pratt warehouse.
“Nobody told us nothing,” she said. “But we closed the gates and locked down the shop.”
News reports of an active shooter there confirmed their fears shortly after.
“We are kind of nervous,” Caal said. “It looks like something big is going on out there.”
Additional details were not immediately available.
This article was written by Michael Brice-Saddler, Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and Reis Thebault, reporters for The Washington Post.