AURORA, IL (Gray News) - A shooter killed five people when he opened fire at a valve manufacturing facility west of Chicago on Friday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooter is also deceased. He’s been identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin. Police said he was an employee at Henry Pratt Company, where the shooting took place.
Multiple people were wounded in the shooting, including five police officers.
Late Friday night, Aurora Chief of Police Kristen Ziman told reporters the suspect confronted officers, who responded within five minutes. Martin immediately fired on officers with a handgun, hitting two officers.
As additional law enforcement arrived at the scene, they reported continued gunfire. Officers went into the building, where they confronted the suspect, who opened fire on the officers.
The officers then shot and killed the suspect.
They released a photo of Martin late Friday night.
The five killed were all Henry Pratt employees. Officers found them deceased in the building.
Another employee is being treated for injuries that are believed to be non-life-threatening.
The injured officers were from the Aurora Police Department. All officers have apparent non-life-threatening injuries. One got out of surgery late Friday night, and at least one reportedly went in for surgery around the same time.
Officials aren’t yet releasing their names, but Ziman said all injured officers were males. Their names are expected to be released on Saturday in a morning press conference.
The incident lasted over an hour and a half. The five officers were shot within the first five minutes.
Martin worked at the company for 15 years, and investigators’ information indicates he was being terminated on Friday, Ziman said.
Asked about the nature of the attack, if it was a “classic” workplace shooting, Ziman said, “I hate that we have to use the term classic workplace shooting. That pains me to do so.”
Investigators are looking into his criminal history, and have also obtained a search warrant for his Aurora residence.
“Active Shooter Incident has been secured. Shooter is no longer a threat to the area," Aurora Police tweeted at the time of the shooting. "Continued police presence will remain as investigation continues.”
“THE SHOOTER HAS BEEN APPREHENDED! The area is still on lock down!” the City of Aurora tweeted Friday afternoon.
Local and federal law enforcement agencies descended on the scene, including the Aurora Police, a SWAT team from Kane County, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the U.S. Marshals Service.
Police continue investigating the crime scene at the Henry Pratt Company. The company is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of valves for the potable water, wastewater, power generation and industrial markets.
Employee John Probst told WLS he recognized the shooter as a co-worker and saw injured co-workers. He said the shooter was carrying a pistol with a laser scope.
"One of the guys was up in the office, he said this person was shooting, 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," he said.
Probst said he and a co-worker escaped through the back door and took shelter in a home.
When the shooting took place, there would have been about 30 people in the building, he said.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin spoke at a Friday evening news conference, saying, “It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country."
Irvin continued: “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.”
llinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker thanked law enforcement, and told reporters: “There is no way to prepare. There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams and their futures. There are no words to express our gratitude to the families of the officers who were injured in the line of duty as they responded within moments to the gravest kind of danger that they can face. Tomorrow, the families of the victims will be less than whole.”
Illinois’ two U.S. senators followed developments from Washington, DC.
“This is a scary, sad day for all Illinoisans and Americans,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth tweeted. “Thank you to the brave first responders who risked their lives this afternoon and apprehended the shooter.”
“My heart breaks for Aurora,” Sen. Dick Durbin said on his Twitter account. “Thank you to the members of law enforcement who are responding to the emergency.”
Schools in the area were put on lockdown immediately following the shooting, including the nearby Holy Angels Catholic School. Students have since been released.
Aurora is city of about 200,000 people about 38 miles west of Chicago.
The shooting comes a day after the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. A gunman murdered 17 students and school employees on Feb. 14, 2018.