Skip to main content

Aurora attacker took gun to work he shouldn’t have owned

  • Empty

    Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman speaks at a news conference Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill., about the shootings at a manufacturing company in the city. Several people were killed and several police officers injured, police say, before the gunman, an employee of the company, was fatally shot. (Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald via AP)

  • Empty

    Employees are escorted from the scene of a shooting at a manufacturing company, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill, that police said left several people dead and several police officers wounded. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

  • Empty

    Law enforcement officers gather outside the Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing plant Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill. Police say a gunman killed several people and injured police officers before he was fatally shot. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

  • Empty

    A law enforcement officer works at the scene of a shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill. Officials say several people were killed and at least five police officers were wounded after a gunman opened fire in an industrial park. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

  • Empty

    Representatives of law enforcement agencies attend a news conference Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill., after shootings at a manufacturing company in the city. Several people were killed and several police officers injured, police say, before the gunman, an employee of the company, was fatally shot. (Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald via AP)

  • Empty

    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, after shootings at a manufacturing company in Aurora, Ill. Several people were killed and several police officers injured, police say, before the gunman, an employee of the company, was fatally shot. (Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald via AP)

  • Empty

    Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin speaks during a news conference Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, after shootings at a manufacturing company in the city. Several people were killed and several police officers injured, police say, before the gunman, an employee of the company, was fatally shot. (Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald via AP)

  • Empty

    This undated booking photo provided by the Aurora Illinois Police Department shows Gary Montez Martin, who police say killed multiple people at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse after he was fired, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Aurora Illinois Police Department via AP)

  • Empty

    Authorities search an apartment complex Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill., where the gunman who fatally shot several people at a manufacturing complex in the city is believed to have lived. (Patrick Kunzer/Daily Herald via AP)

Published February 17. 2019 07:20AM


AURORA, Ill. — The man who opened fire and killed five co-workers including the plant manager, human resources manager and an intern working his first day at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse, took a gun he wasn’t supposed to have to a job he was about to lose.

Right after learning Friday that he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Gary Martin pulled out a gun and began shooting, killing the three people in the room with him and two others just outside and wounding a sixth employee, police said Saturday.

Martin shot and wounded five of the first officers to get to the scene, including one who didn’t even make it inside the sprawling warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, a city of 200,000 about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

After that flurry of shots and with officers from throughout the region streaming in to help, he ran off and hid in the back of the building, where officers found him about an hour later and killed him during an exchange of gunfire, police said.

“He was probably waiting for us to get to him there,” Aurora police Lt. Rick Robertson said. “It was just a very short gunfight and it was over, so he was basically in the back waiting for us and fired upon us and our officers fired.”

Like in many of the country’s mass shootings, Friday’s attack was carried out by a man with a violent criminal history who was armed with a gun he wasn’t supposed to have.

Martin, 45, had six arrests over the years in Aurora, for what police Chief Kristen Ziman described as “traffic and domestic battery-related issues” and for violating an order of protection. He also had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi that should have prevented him from buying his gun, Ziman said.

He was able to buy the Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun on March 11, 2014, because he was issued a firearm owner’s identification card two months earlier after passing an initial background check. It wasn’t until he applied for a concealed carry permit five days after buying the gun and went through a more rigorous background check using digital fingerprinting that his Mississippi conviction was flagged and his firearm owner’s ID car was revoked, Ziman said. Once his card was revoked, he could no longer legally have a gun.

“Absolutely, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm,” she said.

But he was, and on Friday he took it and several magazines of ammunition to work.

Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products Inc., which owns Henry Pratt, said that Martin came to work for his normal shift Friday and was being fired when he started shooting.

“We can confirm that the individual was being terminated Friday for a culmination of a various workplace rules violations,” he told a news conference Saturday. He gave no details of the violations by Martin at the plant that makes valves for industrial purposes.

A company background check of Martin when he joined Henry Pratt 15 years ago did not turn up a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi, Hall said.

The employee who survived being shot is recovering at a hospital, Ziman said Saturday. None of the officers who were shot received life-threatening wounds, she said.

Police identified the slain workers as human resources manager Clayton Parks of Elgin; plant manager Josh Pinkard of Oswego; mold operator Russell Beyer of Yorkville; stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez of Oswego; and human resources intern and Northern Illinois University student Trevor Wehner, who lived in DeKalb and grew up in Sheridan.

It was Wehner’s first day on the job, his uncle Jay Wehner told The Associated Press. Trevor Wehner, 21, was on the dean’s list at NIU’s business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.

“He always, always was happy. I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can’t say anything but nice things about him,” Jay Wehner said of his nephew.


Associated Press writers Carrie Antlfinger and Amanda Seitz contributed to this report. Babwin and Rousseau reported from Chicago.









Let me get this right... The gun laws already in place, failed to prevent this man from getting the gun he shouldn't have been able to get? Odd!
I thought government was the answer to all.
Really? Isn’t it saying that the laws aren’t tight enough?
Next Dem president can simply inact an “emergency” on this. Donny and the yellow belly republicans are not going about the wall the right way.
They have 2 years of control in the house and senate and nothing. Wasn’t an emergency then.
I still don't understand why such push back against a wall? The money isn't the issue, so why is this wall such a big deal? Besides, this story lacked a wall, and people died. Now tell me what wall I am referring to.
Mentally ill people should be denied access to weapons. Existing laws should have caught this. Possession of weapons is a sacred right. Make no mistake about it - every citizen in America is protected at all times by a weapon...the only question is, within reach to be of any help? Rigorous training and personal responsibility are essential. I consider mentally ill people to say things like “Donny and the yellow belly Republicans...” You are disrespectful. You are a hater. You are insulting beyond normal. You would be relieved of command. You would be separated from all weapons. Bye! bye! Then you can go home and figure out that gun control is a separate issue from a border wall!
Lol. Strong words from, I’m sure, another high school graduate. Better go back to the legion or vfw from another pony.
I’m disrespectful? I want good things for the people. Not toddler temper tantrums like the gentleman who lives rent free at Pennsylvania Avenue, and also as you just displayed.
Been out of that area back there for some time now, thank god, but love to check in on the comments to see how crazy small minded, small town people are. Just amazes me. Please keep posting your comments, I really do enjoy them.
You are a small minded punk that has some sort of complex. It is one thing to have integrity and honor. It is another to be insulting on a personal level. As a matter of point, I am not living in the immediate TN area. My 20 yrs service in the mil took me away from the area that I love. When you are in, and over, hostile foreign countries you long for home. I will not disclose the specifics of my missions. “Better go...from another pony”? Maybe you aren’t a graduate. You have multiple spelling errors.
You should thank your lucky stars for the heros that walk in to the Legion & VFW. I buried better men than you will ever be. I would take any of them over a condescending punk like you. Punks like you need emotional support bunny rabbits. Don’t ever make the mistake in thinking you are better than someone else. If you “want good things for the people” you say...move to China or Venezuela. Be sure to capitalize the L in Legion, and the V,F, & W in VFW - out of respect when you send letters home for mommy to send you money.
Getting back to this story...
Was this considered a hate crime? If not, then it was a crime of love? This shooter killed others. He was angry, and certainly hate filled, but skin tone conveniently dictates this thing called "Hate Crime"
Now let's look at another story, which has been dropped from the radar.
Presidential Hopeful, Corey Bugger said of the Smollett attack, "The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I'm glad he's safe," Booker tweeted.
Lynching? You see folks, Corey Bugger failed to assess this lie, because he rushed to something he thought would push a "Fake Law". He then continued to reveal his ignorance...
"To those in Congress who don't feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime– I urge you to pay attention."
Now who will be defining "Lynching", when you get accused of... lynching? Is it possible for a person of dark skin to "Lynch"?
Did the Aurora shooter "lynch" in Love?
Just something to consider.
Love, what is love? Hate, what is hate?
Did I miss something from the article? I read that the initial background check in 2014 was clear to own weapons. It should not have been clear from felony conviction in 1995. Then he applies for concealed weapons permit/license two months later (2014) and THAT was when he was declined AND his weapons license revoked.

So Law Enforcement failed. The instant he was revoked LE should have picked him up. Illinois has a little bit weird gun law. I only know this because I lived close and hunted the state. But that was 15 years ago. I think the State Police handled all the gun license stuff.

Not sure but I think you get a firearm owners identification card. Which sounds like you identify yourself as someone intending to own/purchase/possess a gun. Then you apply for a concealed permit for a (presumably) handgun. So when you apply for the concealed weapon permit YOU ALREADY HAVE THE GUN. So a hit on the concealed carry permit should automatically trigger a felony possession in this case.

Again this only sorta works on LAW ABIDING CITIZENS except for in this case it didn't work - at all - for anyone.

Classified Ads

Event Calendar


February 2020


Upcoming Events

Twitter Feed