Aurora shooting: Five killed by sacked man at Illinois firm

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Media captionPolice said the gunman was an ex-employee

A man being fired from his job has shot dead five people and injured several police officers at his workplace in the US state of Illinois.

The gunman was killed during an exchange of fire with police. The five victims have now been named.

The shooting took place at a manufacturing firm in Aurora, a suburb about 40 miles (64km) west of Chicago.

Police named the suspect as Gary Martin, 45, who had worked at the Henry Pratt company for 15 years.

Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman said the suspect had armed himself and then attended a meeting at which he was being sacked.

Who are the victims?

Police named the five as:

  • Russell Beyer from Yorkville, Illinois
  • Vicente Juarez from Oswego, Illinois
  • Clayton Parks of Elgin, Illinois, the human resources manager
  • Josh Pinkard from Oswego, the plant manager
  • Trevor Wehner, a 21-year-old student at Northern Illinois University and a human resources intern on his first day at Henry Pratt

Three of the victims died in the room where the suspect's termination from his job was being announced, a fourth close by and the fifth on another floor.

Mr Pinkard's family described him as "a loving husband and father who deeply impacted the community".

In a Facebook post by a family friend, Mr Wehner was described as a "big brother to many".

Who is the suspect?

Gary Martin was a 15-year veteran of the Henry Pratt company

The Chicago Sun-Times newspaper reported his family as saying he was "stressed out" at being made redundant by the company, which makes valves for large water pipes.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Gary Martin in an undated handout via the Aurora police department

Clerks at a local store told USA Today that Martin regularly came in for cigars and was a happy and engaging customer who appeared fine on the day of the shooting.

Steve Spizewski, who lived near Martin, told the paper he considered him a friend who had consoled him when his mother died and that he was in "shock" at the reports.

Ms Ziman said Martin had bought a gun in 2014 before authorities realised he had a conviction from 1994.

She said police were investigating why he had not been forced to give it up.

What happened at Henry Pratt?

Police received a number of reports of an "active shooter" in an industrial park in Aurora at about 13:24 local time (19:24 GMT) on Friday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police secured the area following first reports of a shooting

Officers were immediately confronted by the suspect, who was armed with a Smith & Wesson handgun, and two of them were shot and wounded.

Three more officers were shot as they tried to rescue people from the building. None of the wounded officers are in a critical condition.

Officers located the suspect in the large complex after about 90 minutes and he was shot dead.

Chris Southwood of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police described the Aurora officers who attended and were shot as "courageous".

"[These] officers and their colleagues did not hesitate to literally put their lives on the line today to stop further bloodshed," Mr Southwood.

How did witnesses describe the scene?

John Probst, who works at Henry Pratt, told broadcaster ABC7 that he saw the attacker, whom he recognised as a colleague.

He said the man was carrying a handgun equipped with a laser sight.

"One of the guys was up in the office [and] he said this person was shooting, and, he come running down and he was bleeding pretty bad... I heard more shots, and we just left the building," Mr Probst said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Multiple emergency calls were made to police when the shooting began

An employee at nearby Capitol Printing told ABC7 that they hid in a closet when the shooting began.

Others in nearby buildings said they locked themselves in.

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth said: "This is a scary, sad day for all Illinoisans and Americans."

President Donald Trump posted a message on Twitter offering his condolences to the victims and their loved ones.

The incident on Friday came a day after the first anniversary of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.