Authorities have identified 45-year-old Gary Martin (above) as the gunman who opened fire Friday afternoon at the Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, fatally shooting five coworkers and injuring several others. When police arrived he fired multiple shots at officers before hiding inside the warehouse. He was found about an hour later and shot dead in a gun battle
The gunman who killed five at a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois before dying in a police standoff has been described as a troubled loner by neighbors and family members.
Shooter Gary Martin, 45, was terminated from his job of 15 years at the Henry Pratt Co. industrial valve manufacturing plant on Friday, shortly before he opened fire, police said.
‘He kept to himself a lot, and he was always on his porch,’ Jeremy Sherman, a neighbor of Martin’s at Acorn Woods Condominium Complex, about 40 miles west of Chicago, told Daily Beast website.
‘Even when he wasn’t doing nothing, he’d be out there sitting. I’d be out there, sometimes one, two in the morning and he’d be there just sitting all in the dark, [in the] shadows.’
Sherman described his neighbor as a loner with whom he sometimes chatted and smoked marijuana, without ever learning anything about Martin’s work life or his past.
‘I’d say something to him sometimes and he’d be like “rorh rorh rorh,” mumbling under his breath. I don’t know if he heard me or…I don’t know. He seemed a little off the wall, a little off his rocker, you know? Not like mentally crazy, but something about him was just a little bit different,’ Sherman said.
Sherman said he never saw Martin with weapons – or with guests.
He said that Martin could often be found outside playing with his remote-control toy cars and drones.
Another neighbor, Jennifer White, said that she often saw Martin playing with his drones near the apartment complex.
‘He would wave at us or stare at us. Kinda creepy,’ White told WBBM-TV. ‘He always kept to himself.’
Martin’s mother told the Chicago Sun-Times that her son had been ‘way too stressed out’ recently.
Public records showed Martin had a criminal past, a 1995 conviction for aggravated assault for stabbing a woman in Marshall County, Mississippi.
Aurora Police Chief Ziman said authorities did not know if he had legally purchased the gun he used, a Smith & Wesson revolver. Convicted felons are barred from buying firearms.
Suspected shooter Gary Martin is seen in an undated mugshot. His most recent arrest was in 2017 on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property
A neighbor said that Martin was always sitting in the shadows on his porch in their apartment complex (above)
Officials search the apartment of Gary Martin, believed to be responsible for a workplace shooting in Illinois
A police officer enters a bomb disposal van as officials search the apartment of Gary Martin, believed to be responsible for a workplace shooting at the Henry Pratt Company, in Aurora, Illinois
Authorities search the apartment complex where suspected shooter George Martin lived in Aurora, Illinois on Friday
In Illinois, Martin’s record included minor offenses, including illegally altering car speakers and squealing his tires, the Sun-Times reported. He was also sued by a landlord.
Police say Martin opened fire inside the warehouse just before 1.30pm local time Friday, fatally shooting five people and injuring multiple others.
A fellow employee and eyewitness John Probst told CNN that Martin fired his pistol with a green laser sight at fellow workers. ‘What I saw was the guy running down the aisle with a pistol with a laser on it,’ he said.
Police responding to reports of the shooting were met with a hail of gunfire in which five officers were shot and wounded.
Martin then hid inside the 29,000-square-foot warehouse. When police finally located him 90 minutes later, a gun battle ensued and Martin was shot dead.
Chief Ziman revealed what details investigators have been able to confirm at two press conferences on Friday evening. Another press conference is scheduled for 10am CST Saturday.
Ziman said it is unclear whether Martin’s attack was premeditated, but that initial reports suggest he may have been motivated by his firing.
The gunman’s sister Tameka Martin told WBEZ that Martin had worked at Henry Pratt Co. for about 20 years before losing his job about two weeks ago.
His mother, Felicia Martin, told WGN: ‘My heart goes out to all the victims and their families.’
It is unclear how many civilians were wounded in the shooting, but early reports indicated that a dozen had been shot. None of the victims, all of whom were said to be male, have been identified pending notification of family members.
Relatives of Martin (above) said he had worked as a large valve assembler at Henry Pratt Co. for about 20 years before losing his job about two weeks ago. Police have not yet determined a motive in Friday’s shooting
Witnesses described how Martin walked down an aisle of the warehouse shooting ‘everybody’ with a pistol
Police responding to reports of the shooting were met with a hail of gunfire in which five officers were shot and wounded
Employees at the 29,000-square-foot industrial complex are seen being led outside by law enforcement after the shooting
It is unclear how many civilians were wounded in the shooting, but early reports indicated that a dozen had been shot. None of the victims, civilian nor police, have been identified
According to witnesses, Martin had arrived for work at 7am like he would on other day. Things took a horrific turn after lunchtime when he walked down an aisle of the warehouse shooting ‘everybody’ with a pistol that had a laser scope attached to it.
One witness who spoke to ABC said: ‘I saw a guy running down the aisle, with a pistol, I recognized him as a co-worker and he was shooting everybody.’
The man added: ‘One of the guys was up in the office, he said this person was shootin’, and, he come running down and he was bleeding pretty bad, and the next thing you know he was walking back and forth, I heard more shots, and we just left the building.’
Chief Ziman said police received multiple calls about an active shooter at the sprawling warehouse at 641 Archer Ave around 1.24pm. Four officers arrived on the scene within four minutes and were fired upon, injuring two of them.
Additional officers who arrived on the scene shortly after were also fired upon, leaving a total of five officers shot and wounded. Two were airlifted to trauma centers. A sixth officer was being treated for a knee injury.
As of 9pm local time, Ziman said none of the officers had life-threatening injuries.
‘Thank you for your selfless act,’ the police chief said to officers and other law enforcement officials involved in the shooting.
‘Thank you for running towards gunfire and putting your lives in danger to protect those inside the business.’
Ziman said the active shooter situation lasted roughly one hour and 35 minutes, but noted that no shots were fired during the 90 minute period that Martin was hiding inside the warehouse.
She said all five of the victims killed were dead when emergency responders arrived. It was unclear whether Martin had targeted any of them specifically.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin addressed the media after Ziman, saying: ‘It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country.
‘It’s a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life. But we as a society cannot allow these horrific acts to become commonplace.’
Gov JB Pritzker also spoke at the news conference and expressed that there was no way for him to prepare for such a shocking event, the first tragedy of his administration.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences after the White House was briefed on the shooting
‘There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams and their futures,’ he said. ‘There are no words to express our gratitude to the officers who were wounded in the line of duty as they responded to the gravest kind of danger they could face.’
President Trump reacted to the shooting on Twitter Friday evening, writing: ‘Great job by law enforcement in Aurora, Illinois. Heartfelt condolences to all of the victims and their families. America is with you!’
Hundreds of law enforcement officials from local agencies in addition to SWAT teams, FBI agents and ATF officers remained on the scene hours after the shooting.
By 7pm Friday evening police had taped off a Chicago apartment unit where Martin was believed to have lived. Local media outlets reported that it did not appear anyone was home when officers arrived.
Neighbors could be seen huddled on the sidewalk near Martin’s unit, speculating about whether they had ever crossed paths with the suspected shooter.
‘This is a strange thing to come home to,’ resident Mary McKnight remarked as she arrived at the complex and saw the massive law enforcement presence, according to the Associated Press.
Hundreds of law enforcement officials from local agencies in addition to SWAT teams, FBI agents and ATF officers were dispatched to the scene of the shooting
Authorities announced that the scene had been secured at around 3.30pm, two hours after the first reports of gunfire
The Henry Pratt Co. warehouse is near several schools and a university, which were both placed on lockdown until the active shooter situation was diffused.
West Aurora School District 129 said on its website that officials were ‘holding all district students in place for their safety’ and that ‘teaching will continue with reduced movement’.
The district said it had been advised by the county sheriff to go into a soft lockdown situation.
President of the District 129 school board Bob Gonzalez, who lives and works about 50 feet from Henry Pratt Co., told the Chicago Tribune he and his twin four-year-old grandchildren were at home when they heard sirens and squad cars fly by.
Gonzalez said he initially assumed it was a fire, but became more concerned as countless other law enforcement vehicles flooded into the area.
As soon as he learned that a shooting had taken place, Gonzalez locked the doors to his office, closed the blinds and took his grandchildren to a bathroom in the rear of his home, warning them to stay away from the window.
He said he tried to stay calm and answer their questions without raising alarm, but admitted: ‘I was very scared at the same time.’
Gonzalez said he hasn’t experienced anything like this in the 31 years he’s lived in Aurora.
‘It’s kind of unsettling,’ he told the Tribune. ‘It just makes me wonder, here, the door to my office is always unlocked, I see my clients come in, I know my clients, but it makes me wonder whether now I should have some kind lock that I can lock from the inside and keep my door locked at all times. It’s very scary.’
‘I’ve seen it on the news happening someplace else,’ he said. ‘But never here in Aurora.’
The shooting took place around 40 miles from Chicago, in the suburb of Aurora
Police armed with rifles patrol the scene at the Henry Pratt Co. water valve manufacturing plant after Friday’s shooting
An enormous law enforcement presence stayed at the scene for hours after the shooting. The scene was secured by 3.30pm