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Local

Aurora shooting victim sues Illinois State Police

Lawsuit alleges state police did not follow proper procedures that allowed gunman to keep the handgun used in the Feb. 15 shooting

Crosses outside Henry Pratt Company in Aurora memorialize five employees were shot and killed by a coworker on Feb. 15
Crosses outside Henry Pratt Company in Aurora memorialize five employees were shot and killed by a coworker on Feb. 15

A man who was injured in the Feb. 15 shooting at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora that killed five of his co-workers and wounded several police officers is suing the Illinois State Police for not following proper procedures that allowed the gunman to keep the handgun used in the shooting.

Timothy Williams, who was shot three times – once in his right arm and twice in his back, is seeking $2 million in damages. Two bullets remain in his back, according to the lawsuit.

Williams filed the suit on March 8 in the Court of Claims of the State of Illinois. The shooter, Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora, died in a shootout with police.

"Mr. Martin never would have never possessed the firearm he used at the Henry Pratt Company mass shooting had the Illinois State Police properly followed and implemented their internal protocols intended to keep firearms out of the hands of citizens who meet certain criteria deemed by the legislature in the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act to be unfit for ownership of a firearm," the suit stated.

In an email, Lt. Joseph Hutchins, chief public information officer for the Illinois State Police, said the Illinois State Police "doesn’t respond to questions regarding pending litigation."

The Illinois State Police previously said that Martin lied on his gun license application in order to obtain a gun, according to Illinois State Police. He applied for a Firearm Owner's Identification card in January 2014.

"On his application, Martin answered 'no' to the question, 'Have you ever been convicted of a felony?' " Illinois State Police officials had said. "The search of records conducted by FOID staff only produced Martin's Illinois criminal history information, which revealed no prohibiting factors."

Martin was turned down for a concealed carry permit and his Illinois FOID card was revoked in 2014 after it was discovered he had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault out of Mississippi.

Martin pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a requirement to undergo psychological screening. He was released from custody in April 1997.

"The Illinois State Police did not contact Mississippi and failed to disclose Mr. Martin's violent felony convictions in the criminal history background check it performed for Mr. Martin's FOID card application," according to the suit.

His FOID card was revoked after he applied for a Firearm Concealed Carry License application in March 2014.

"Once an individual's FOID is revoked, Illinois law requires a revoked FOID card holder to surrender their FOID card and complete a Firearm Disposition Record within 48 hours of receiving notice of the revocation," according to Illinois State Police officials. "The Firearm Disposition Record would document the name, address and FOID number of the individual receiving any transferred weapons from the revoked FOID card holder."

A revoked FOID card holder can lawfully transfer their weapon to a valid FOID card holder or to the local law enforcement agency in the area in which the revoked FOID cardholder lives. The Illinois State Police has no record of receiving a Firearm Disposition Record for Martin or his FOID card.

If a revoked FOID card holder doesn't comply, the county sheriff or law enforcement agency where the individual lives can petition the court to issue a search warrant for the FOID card and any firearms in their possession. But Illinois law does not require them to do so, according to officials.

In a previous statement, the Aurora Police Department had said its records did not confirm notification of a FOID card revocation or the recovery of firearms from Martin in 2014 or any time since.

"If an agency is made aware of a FOID card revocation, the agency may seek to petition the court for the FOID card and any firearms; however, having a revoked FOID card alone is not sufficient grounds to search a person or their home," the department added.

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