Five killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse

Five killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse
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 -
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By Suzannah Gonzales

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire at a manufacturing warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was slain, law enforcement officials said.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the shooter, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, worked at the sprawling industrial complex in Aurora, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, but did not say what may have motivated the attack.

The Chicago Sun-Times newspaper reported that a woman who identified herself to police as Martin's mother told authorities her son had been laid off from his job two weeks ago and had been "way too stressed out" before Friday's shooting.

"Today is a sad day in the city of Aurora," Mayor Richard Irvin told reporters.

Ziman said police received multiple emergency calls at 1:24 p.m. reporting an active shooter at the manufacturing plant. The first officers arrived on the scene four minutes later and two of them were immediately struck by gunfire, she said.

All told, five officers were shot and wounded, Ziman said, before the gunman was killed by police returning fire. A sixth officer suffered a knee injury.

Inside the building, five civilians were found dead. None of them were identified by police.

The wounded officers were listed in stable condition at a local hospital, Clayton Muhammad, spokesman for the City of Aurora, told the local ABC affiliate.

Witness John Probst told CNN that he saw the gunman, a co-worker, running down an aisle of the manufacturing facility with a pistol equipped with a laser sight. Probst told the network that he saw people bleeding.

Martin's LinkedIn page lists him as a large valve assembler at the Henry Pratt Company plant in Aurora, a subsidiary of Atlanta, Georgia-based Mueller Water Products.

"Mueller Water Products is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred today at our Henry Pratt facility," Meuller said in a message on Twitter.

"Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the first responders, the Aurora community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time," the company said.

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.

Video on local media showed numerous police cars surrounding a large commercial building in Aurora, the ground covered in snow.

A spokeswoman for U.S. President Donald Trump said that he was aware of the incident.

"The President has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation in Aurora, IL," Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales and Karen Pierog in Chicago, Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler)

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