Dismissed employee kills 5 co-workers in Illinois factory shooting


FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo of police and emergency vehicles parked in a lot adjacent ...
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo of police and emergency vehicles parked in a lot adjacent to a warehouse at the scene of a mass shooting involving multiply casualties in Aurora, Illinois, U.S., February 15, 2019. Bev Horne/Daily Herald/via REUTERS

A gunman opened fire at an Illinois factory just after receiving notice of termination from his job there on Friday, killing five fellow workers and wounding five policemen before he was slain by police, authorities said.

The assailant, identified as Gary Martin, 45, had worked at the Henry Pratt Company for 15 years before Friday’s violence unfolded at the firm’s sprawling facility in Aurora, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said.

At a late-night news conference, Ziman said it was not yet clear whether the suspect, armed with a Smith & Wesson handgun, was carrying the weapon at the time of his dismissal or whether he “went to retrieve it” before opening fire.

An eyewitness and fellow employee told CNN he saw the gunman running through the building carrying a pistol fitted with a laser sight.

Also uncertain was the degree to which the shooting was premeditated, Ziman told reporters.

“The information that we have indicates he was being terminated today,” she said, adding that the reason for his dismissal was not known to police.

The chief said investigators were still looking into whether the gunman had a prior criminal history, but public records show Martin was convicted in 1995 for aggravated assault in Mississippi. Convicted felons are generally barred from possessing firearms.

The bloodshed marked the latest spasm of gun violence in a nation where mass shootings have become almost commonplace. It came one day after the one-year anniversary of the massacre of 17 people by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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