Months later, a second background check of Gary Martin found his 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi involving the stabbing of an ex-girlfriend. But it prompted only a letter stating his gun permit had been revoked and ordering him to turn over his firearm to police — raising questions about the states enforcement to ensure those who lose their permits also turn over their weapons.
Officials: Aurora gunman opened fire on his coworkers as soon as he lost his job
A vigil for the victims , including a university student on his first day as an intern and a longtime plant manager, was held Sunday outside Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago. More than 1,500 people braved snow and freezing drizzle to attend.
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Man killed 5 in Illinois after gun background check missed felony conviction, police say
Martin, 45, was killed in a shootout with officers Friday, ending his deadly rampage at the plant. His state gun license permit was revoked in 2014, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said.
Police chief identifies gunman in fatal shootings in Aurora, Illinois, industrial park as 45-year-old Gary Martin
But he never gave up the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he used in the attack. Investigators are still trying to determine what exactly law enforcement agencies did after that letter was sent, Ziman said.
Illinois lawmakers who support more gun control measures said Martin was able to keep the gun because of a flaw in the 1968 law that requires residents to get a Firearm Owners Identification card, or FOID card, to purchase firearms or ammunition. They must pass a background check, but the law does not mandate that police ensure weapons have been removed if a red flag is raised later.
Legislation was introduced in 2016 to require police go to the homes of gun owners who have their FOID cards revoked and search for the weapons, but it failed over concerns it would overtax police departments, said Democratic Rep. Kathleen Willis.
Aurora shooting victims included plant manager, intern
Lets use some common sense. If you have someone with a felony, obviously they are not the best law-abiding citizens who are going to follow through when they get the letter and go, oh yeah, heres my gun, no problem, Willis said. We have to have oversight. Thats the biggest flaw in the whole system. Were asking people who already have done something wrong, to do something right.
MSU graduate identified as a victim in Aurora shooting
Last year, Illinois joined other states like California in passing a law that allows family members to petition to have a gun removed from a home and a persons permit revoked if they believe they might use it to harm themselves or others.
Lawmakers are also working to add teeth to restrictions on the transfers of gun ownership from a person whose permit has been revoked, Willis said. The change follows a 2018 shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House involving a man who had to give his guns to his father after his Illinois FOID card was revoked, but his father later gave them back to him.
Legislators want people who obtain such weapons to sign an affidavit vowing to not return the weapons to the original owner.
Illinois man being fired from job fatally shoots 5 workers
Martin was no stranger to police in Aurora, where he had been arrested six times over the years for what Ziman described as traffic and domestic battery-related issues and for violating an order of protection.
After an initial background check failed to detect his felony conviction, Martin was issued his FOID card and bought the Smith & Wesson handgun on March 11, 2014. Five days after that, he applied for a concealed carry permit. That background check, which used digital fingerprinting, did flag his Mississippi felony conviction and led the Illinois State Police to revoke his permit.
The 32-year-old from Elgin, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Aurora, had just joined Henry Pratt in November 2018 as HR manager responsible for operations in Aurora, Illinois, Hammond, Indiana and Denver, the company said. He also was in the meeting where the gunman was being fired from his job.
Records stemming from his 1995 conviction in Mississippi described an extremely violent man who abused a former girlfriend, at one point hitting her with a baseball bat and stabbing her with a knife, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
After serving less than three years, he moved to Illinois and landed a job at Henry Pratt. The conviction was not detected in a company background check.
Authorities said Saturday that Martin pulled out the gun and began shooting right after hearing he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the industrial valve manufacturer for various workplace violations. The company has not given further details on what they were.
Martin killed three people in the room with him and two others just outside, Ziman said. Among the dead was a college student starting a human resources internship at the plant that day. Martin also wounded a sixth worker, who is expected to survive.
After wounding five officers, Martin 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. All of the wounded officers are expected to live.
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 Trevor Wehner, the new intern and a Northern Illinois University student who lived in DeKalb and grew up in Sheridan.
Wehner, 21, was on the deans list at NIUs business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.
Aurora shooters permit was revoked but gun wasnt seized
The Rev. Dan Haas told those who gathered outside Henry Pratt for Sundays vigil that the killings left the victims families brokenhearted and in mourning.
All of these were relatively young people — many of them were very young people. We will never know their gifts and talents. Their lives were snuffed out way too short, he said.
Babwin reported from Chicago. Watson reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Caryn Rousseau, Carrie Antlfinger and Amanda Seitz contributed.
Law enforcement personnel gather near the scene of a shooting at an industrial park in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Bev Horne/Daily Herald via AP)
MSU grad killed in Aurora shooting
“/>VIEW PHOTO GALLERY13 photosAAAURORA, Ill. (AP) —An employee of a manufacturing company opened fire in its suburban Chicago plant Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was fatally shot, police said.
Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman identified the gunman as 45-year-old Gary Martin and said he was believed to be an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. — which makes valves for industrial purposes — in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago. She told a news conference that officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of the shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse.
Hospitals reported treating at least seven patients from the shooting, though their conditions werent released. Two of the officers were airlifted to trauma centers in Chicago, Ziman said. She said a sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Officials did not say the total number of people injured including police and civilians.
Dozens of first responder vehicles converged on the building housing the company in Aurora after police received multiple calls about an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. CST.The gunman was apprehended, officials said, and the Kane County coroner was at the scene.
The city sent a tweet Friday afternoon saying there was an active shooter in an industrial park and that police were on the scene. They say the shooter is in custody and the area still is on lockdown.
Several ATF teams also responded to the shooting and were at the scene, according to the agencys Chicago spokeswoman, and the FBI said it also responded.
John Probst, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, told ABC7 that he ran out of the back door as the shooting unfolded Friday afternoon. Probst says he recognized the gunman and that he works for the company.
“Its a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country. Its a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said.
Aurora shooters permit was revoked but gun wasnt seized
Police and squad cars guarded all access points to Henry Pratt five hours after the first calls to 911 about the shooting. The industrial park is surrounded by a neighborhood of modest homes with porch fronts, some with American flags perched outside.
At Acorn Woods Condominiums where Martin lived, a mix of brick apartments and condos nestled on a quiet street just a mile and a half from the shooting, neighbors gathered on sidewalks near Martins unit talking and wondering among themselves if they knew or had come in contact with him.
Mary McKnight stepped out of her car with a cherry cheesecake purchased for her sons birthday, to find a flurry of police cars, officers and media trucks.
“This is a strange thing to come home to, right,” she said. She had just learned that the shooter lived close by and his unit in the complex had been taped off by police.
Christy Fonseca often worries about some of the gang-related crimes and shootings around her mothers Aurora neighborhood. But she never expected the type of phone call she got from her mom on Friday, warning her to be careful with an active shooter loose in the town.
Police cars with screaming sirens revved past her as she drove to her mothers house, where the Henry Pratt building is visible from the porch stoop. it was only when they flipped on the television news that they realized Martin had killed people just a few hundred feet away.
“In Aurora, period, wed never thought anything like this would happen,” Fonseca, a lifelong resident of the Chicago suburb, said as she looked out at the factory.Spokespeople for Mercy Medical Center and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora did not immediately return messages about whether either hospital was treating victims from the shooting. No victims had been sent to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in nearby Downers as of Friday evening, spokeswoman Kate Eller told The Associated Press.
Officials: 1 dead, 4 police wounded in Illinois shooting
Governor J.B. Pritzker tweeted that he is monitoring events and advised citizens to follow the directives of law enforcement.
The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump tweeted his thanks to law enforcement officers in Aurora and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. “America is with you,” he said.
Presence Mercy Medical Center was treating two patients and a third had been transferred by helicopter to another hospital, spokesman Matt Wakely said. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital each had one patient from the shooting, spokeswoman Kate Eller said. Rush Copley Medical Center received three patients from the shooting and all are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, spokeswoman Courtney Satlak said.