Aurora Mass Shooting Victims Identified By Police
Updated 5:50 p.m.
Friday afternoon, a man opened fire at an Aurora manufacturing company where he worked.
Police said the mass shooting left five employees at Henry Pratt Co. dead and five police officers injured before cops fatally shot the gunman.
On Saturday morning, Aurora police identified the following victims:
• Clayton Parks, of Elgin. Parks was the human resources manager.
• Trevor Wehner, of Dekalb. Wehner was an intern at Henry Pratt and a student at Northern Illinois University.
• Russell Beyer, of Yorkville. Beyer was a mold operator.
• Vicente Juarez of Oswego. Juarez was a stock room attendant and fork lift operator.
• Josh Pinkard, of Oswego. Pinkard was the plant manager.
Another shooting victim, a male employee of Henry Pratt, was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds sustained during the shooting incident.
On Friday, Aurora Police identified the shooter as 45-year-old Gary Martin.
They said Martin had worked at Henry Pratt for 15 years and was going to be terminated on Friday.
“He shot officers, so if they did shoot him and kill him, they was, I guess, defending themselves.” said Tameka Martin, who identified herself as the gunman's sister.
One of the five people who were killed Friday, Trevor Wehner, was a 21-year-old college student who had started interning in the human resources department at Henry Pratt on Friday.
That's according to his uncle, Jay Wehner. He says his nephew grew up about 30 miles south of Aurora in Sheridan and was expected to graduate from Northern Illinois University in May with a degree in human resource management.
He says Trevor was a "wonderful person" who was fun, caring and "always, always happy."
NIU president Lisa Freeman said in a statement that "loss like this is devastating and senseless." Clay, another one of the victims, was a 2014 graduate of NIU's College of Business.
Josh Pinkard's family said in a statement that he was a "37-year-old north Alabama native ... a devoted husband and father to three kids. He loved God, his family, and Mississippi State sports."
Police said the five officers who were shot in the incident are recovering and are under the care of physicians in the Chicago metro area. They did not release the names of the officers, but did release the following details about the officers:
• Officer 1 – Male, 39, with 13 years of service.
• Officer 2 – Male, 52, with 25 years of service.
• Officer 3 – Male, 52, with 24 years of service.
• Officer 4, - Male, 53, with 30 years of service.
• Officer 5, - Male, 24, with about four years of service.
• Officer 6, - Male, 23, with two years of service. This officers' injury was not related to gunfire.
All of the officers’ injuries are considered non-life-threatening.
‘There’s these crazy things that happen’
"For so many years, we have seen similar situations throughout our nation and the horrible feeling that we get when we see it on the news. To experience it first-hand, is even more painful," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin at a Friday afternoon press conference.
Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said officers responded Friday at 1:24 p.m. to “multiple calls for an active shooter” and were “fired upon immediately.”
Police eventually entered the 29,000-square-foot building, where they found Martin with a Smith & Wesson handgun. Officers killed Martin during an exchange of gunfire, Ziman said.
The Henry Pratt Company, which makes valves for the potable water, wastewater, power generation and industrial markets, is headquartered in Aurora, a city of more than 200,000 people about 40 miles west of Chicago.
On Saturday afternoon, Isabella Irish, 17, and her mother stood by a small memorial to the people who died at Henry Pratt Co.
Irish’s dad worked at the plant before he passed away a few years ago. She said it was a special community, and “everybody loved everybody.”
At first, Irish’s mom didn’t want her talking to the media and they drove away. But about 20 minutes later, they came back. Irish was insistent there was something she needed to say.
“I just want people to know that things like this happen all the time," she said. "And that when people ignore it, it gets worse and that the more you ignore things the more they happen. And especially since this is so close to home, it’s a good time to do something about it. There are people dying, and we need to realize that."
Aurora resident Greg Zanis, who gained national attention for putting up crosses at mass shooting sites across the country, said he never believed a mass shooting would happen in his hometown.
“Now our streets are covered in blood,” Zanis said. “Streets I’ve been driving down for 50, 60 years. And now this happens.”
Zanis said he’d like to make crosses with the victims’ names and put them up near Henry Pratt Co.
On Friday afternoon, all schools in West Aurora School District 129 were on a soft lockdown. Parents were alerted through mass text and phone messages. Schools lifted the lockdown at about 3:30 p.m. and began dismissing students in 40-minute intervals.
Aurora parent Carly Zabinski, who is a teacher in a different district, got some of those texts and phone calls.
“Being a teacher myself, I know the training teachers go through to keep students calm and safe,” she said. “I’ve been through that training.”
Zabinski said she knew the school had a plan in place, but she was still scared for her son, who is a second-grader at Goodwin Elementary School, about five miles from the shooting.
“I’m trying to prepare myself with how to approach this with a 7-year-old,” she said Friday as she made her way to pick up her son. “How can I make him understand he’s safe, but at the same time there’s these crazy things that happen.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Susie An and The Associated Press contributed to this report.