- A shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois left five people dead and several injured Friday afternoon after longtime employee Gary Martin opened fire.
- Authorities said Martin was going to be fired on the day of the shooting and reportedly opened fire on a conference room before targeting workers on the plant floor.
- An eyewitness who escaped through a back door told a local outlet that Martin was “shooting everybody” after he went “ballistic,” using a pistol with a green laser sight.
Five people were killed in a Friday afternoon shooting at the Aurora, Illinois Henry Pratt Company after 45-year-old Gary Martin opened fire.
Martin was a longtime assembly worker at the valve plant who was going to be fired from his job on the day of the attack. He reportedly showed up to a meeting with a Smith & Wesson handgun, and initially opened fire on the executives in the meeting room before targeting those who were at work on the plant floor.
Local outlet WLS reported that the shooting startled nearby residents and sent a nearby high school into lockdown as some plant employees escaped through a back door, like John Probst.
“Next thing you know, he went walking back in front and we heard more shots and that’s when we just left the building, and he started opening up on the room and he was just shooting everybody,” Probst, who has worked at the plant for 40 years, told WLS.
Probst told WLS that Martin was “running down the aisle” of the plant floor holding a pistol that had a green laser sight. After he escaped the building, Probst said an injured employee said Martin “went ballistic.”
Police said they exchanged gunfire with Martin, but it’s not immediately clear how he was killed before a SWAT force entered the building and found him.
Five City of Aurora police officers were shot, and at least six other people were injured in the 95-minute incident. The officers were reportedly in stable condition as of Friday night.
Two of four police officers who first responded to the incident and entered the building were ‘fired upon immediately’ by Martin, possibly from a window, the police chief said.
An eyewitness who said she lives near the plant told MSNBC that three officers carried out an injured officer amid a chaotic scene that included active firefighters, state troopers, and SWAT teams.
WLS reported that when employees were leaving the building after the shooting, some carried lunch coolers, and one was spotted with Valentine’s Day roses and a birthday gift bag.
Investigators are reportedly still looking into Martin’s background and the cause of his death.
“Mueller Water Products is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred today at our Henry Pratt facility,” the company said in a tweet on Friday.
“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the first responders, the Aurora community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time,” the statement continued.
Multiple vigils are being planned to be held over the weekend for the victims of the shooting.