AURORA – Mayor Richard Irvin called for the city to come together after a workplace shooting Friday at the Henry Pratt Co. warehouse at 641 Archer Ave. on the city’s near west side that left six people, including the gunman, dead.
“We will come together as one community and stand by those in pain from today’s great loss,” Irvin said during a news conference after the shooting, which also left six officers injured. “We will stand together with those officers shot in the line of duty. We will come together and heal as one Aurora.”
Police did not release the identities of the victims Friday. The shooter, identified as Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora, was killed by police.
“At this time, we aren’t sure of the motive of this act of violence,” Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said.
Ziman said Martin, who had worked for the company for 15 years, was in the process of being terminated, but she did not know if he brought a handgun to the termination hearing or retrieved it later.
Five injured officers and a Henry Pratt employee were taken to local hospitals with gunshot wounds that are not considered life-threatening, Ziman said. From there, two officers were airlifted to Chicago-area trauma centers. A sixth officer was being treated for a knee injury. All of the injured officers were from the Aurora Police Department.
Police were called to the plant at about 1:24 p.m. in response to a report of a shooting at the metal fabricating shop, which manufactures industrial valve actuators and control systems.
“At 1:28 p.m., officers arrived and were fired upon immediately,” Ziman said. “Two of the initial four officers entering the building were shot. Additional officers began to arrive and were also fired upon. A total of five officers were struck by gunfire.”
Martin used a Smith and Wesson handgun in the attack, and investigators on Friday evening searched Martin’s Aurora home to try to locate additional evidence.
During the news conference, Ziman thanked the officers for their courage in confronting the gunman. Police from multiple departments flooded the area around the plant in response to the shooting.
“Thank you for your selfless act,” she said. “Thank you for running toward gunfire and putting your lives in danger to protect those inside the business.”
She also mourned the victims and their families.
“My heart goes out to the victims and their families who simply went to work today like any other day,” Ziman said. “We offer our sincere condolences, and as the facts of this tragedy unfold, we will provide information and attempt to make sense of it.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker also lauded the police officers for their actions.
“You rushed toward danger, and in doing that, you saved countless lives,” he said. “And you represent the very best of what it means to protect our communities and to serve our communities. You have our deepest gratitude.”
Taking note of the increase in mass shooting incidents across the country, Irvin said it was 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,” Irvin said. “We as a society cannot allow these horrific acts to become commonplace.”
Teams of officers searched the 29,000-square-foot warehouse for additional evidence Friday as the investigation continued.
Police officials said they would provide an update at 10 a.m. Saturday.