Five employees are dead, one employee is wounded & five officers are being treated for gunshot wounds
In a press briefing at 9 p.m., Aurora, Ill., Chief of Police Kristen Ziman said five employees were killed, one employee is wounded and five police officers were wounded in a shooting at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Ill. Feb. 15.
The wounded employee is being treated for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds at an area hospital. Wounded officers also are being treated for apparent non-life-threatening injuries. Police are still reaching families of the deceased and have not released the victims names.
The shooter was identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin. Martin was a 15-year veteran of Henry Pratt Co. and Ziman said “information that we have indicates he was being terminated” from his job Feb. 15, in a statement to the press.
Yolanda Coleman Kokayi, director of communications for Mueller Water Products—the parent company for Henry Pratt—released a statement from the company regarding the shooting.
“Mueller Water Products is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred today at our Henry Pratt facility in Aurora, Ill. 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. Our entire focus is on the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, and we are committed to providing any and all support to them and their families. We continue to work closely with law enforcement, with whom we share our deepest gratitude for their support. We will provide updates as we learn more.”
The police received a call for shots fired at 1:24 p.m. and responded within four minutes. Four officers entered the building and were immediately met with gunfire. Two of those officers who entered the building were struck and sustained gunshot wounds. Additional officers responded to offer aid and those officers continued to report gunfire in the building. In total, five officers sustain gunshot wounds.
It is not clear how or when the weapon entered the building or in what part of the building the first shots were fired. The gun used was identified as a Smith & Wesson handgun, Ziman said.
One reporter asked if Ziman believed this was a classic workplace shooting or if they believe certain people were targeted.
"I hate that we have to use the term classic workplace shooting. That pains me to do so," Ziman said.
— Megan Jones (@MeganA_Jones) February 16, 2019
A regional law enforcement response of hundreds of officers from several agencies made their way to the scene as officers continued to enter the building to locate the shooter, Ziman said. They eventually fatally shot Martin. Ziman commended the bravery of so many police responders at the scene.
“In the middle of the incident, I saw hundreds of uniformed officers ready to assist,” Ziman said. “This response from federal, state and local agencies did not surprise me but still overwhelms me. I know how quick our officers responded saved lives today. They took on gunfire, but they pressed on until they located the shooter. … They are true heroes and we honor them for their selfless service to the citizens of Aurora.”
Ziman continued by saying that employees at the company still lost lives in the shooting and that those people did not deserve to die. She said the department would support the families of the victims as best it can.
The entire shooting event lasted approximately one hour and 35 minutes, Ziman said, and after it concluded, officers received and executed a search warrant at Martin’s home. A bomb squad was on site as that search warrant was executed, but it is not clear if that team was used to enter the home.
A third press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 16. WWD will have more coverage as this story develops.