As the community of Aurora, Illinois, bled from the wounds it suffered at the hands of a gunman who killed five people on Friday, its police department sought to start the healing.
Police have identified the gunman as 45-year-old Gary Martin, who allegedly opened fire at Henry Pratt Co., a manufacturing company where he was set to lose his job after 15 years, according to Fox News. Five people were killed, not including Martin.
In addition to five police officers who were wounded, one other person was shot, officials said. Police said that individual’s injuries were not life-threatening, CNN reported.
“We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible support of our citizens during this challenging time. The kind thoughts and well wishes for our officers and loved ones have reminded us of our place in the community, and we are truly thankful for you all,” the department posted on its Facebook page Saturday.
“We would also like to pause for a moment and acknowledge the shared loss we all feel from yesterday’s horrific event, and send our most sincere condolences to those friends and family who lost their loved ones,” the post read.
Aurora police Chief Kristen Ziman said the officers wounded were among the initial respondents at the scene, the Chicago Tribune reported. The department was first alerted to the situation at 1:24 p.m. local time, she said.
“Everybody runs towards the gunfire,” she said. “Again, that was the whole point, to try and keep our citizens safe.”
Ziman said that the incident ended about 90 minutes after it began. Police tracked Martin through the plant.
“When they located the offender, they engaged in gunfire with him, ultimately killing him,” Ziman said.
“My heart goes out to the victims and their families who simply went to work today like any other day,” Ziman said, according to CNN.
Law enforcement sources told WLS-TV the incident began when Martin was summoned to a meeting room and told that he was being fired. The station reported that he began shooting at company executives there and then went out onto the floor of the plant.
Martin used a Smith & Wesson handgun in the shooting, police said.
“One of the guys was up in the office, he said this person was shooting, and he come running down and he was bleeding pretty bad, and the next thing you know he was walking back and forth,” witness John Probst told WLS-TV. “I heard more shots, and we just left the building.”
“Next thing you know, he went walking back in front and we heard more shots and that’s when we just left the building, and he started opening up on the room and he was just shooting everybody,” he said.
Ziman said the course of events was still under investigation.
“We don’t know whether he had the gun on him at the time or if he went to retrieve it,” she said, according to Fox. “We can only surmise with a gentleman who was being terminated that this was something he intended to do, I’m not sure.”
Ziman said it was unclear if specific people were targeted.
“I hate that we have to use the term classic workplace shooting,” she said. “That pains me to do so.”
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