HR manager, college intern among dead

AURORA, Ill.—The victims of the shooting rampage at a suburban Chicago factory included the manufacturing company’s human resources manager, a college intern and a stock room attendant who doubled as a fork lift operator, police said.

One of the victims, Trevor Wehner, of DeKalb, Ill., had just started with Henry Pratt Company, an industrial valve manufacturer, as an intern in the human resources department, according to Cynthia Rose Cascarano, a family friend. 

Wehner was also a student at Northern Illinois University, police said.

Cascarano wrote on Facebook that Wehner, who grew up with her children, was on his first day on the job Friday when the gunman, Gary Martin, 45, went on the shooting spree, killing five co-workers and then wounding five responding police officers before being shot dead by police.

The police officers, all men ages ranging from 24 to 53, suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Police said Martin, a 15-year veteran of Henry Pratt, was fired Friday. Three of the victims were killed in the meeting where company officials were giving him the bad news; two others were killed elsewhere in the warehouse in this town about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

“Each and every one of us have had a “First Day” on the job, his should have never ended this way 💔,” Cascarano wrote on Facebook. “He was one of the victims! He was going to be 22 on April 22nd, on what would have been his golden birthday!”

Police identified the others killed as Clayton Parks, of Elgin, Ill., a human resources manager; Russell Beyer, of Yorkville, Ill, a mold operator; Vicente Juarez of Oswego, Ill., a stock room attendant and fork lift operator; and Josh Pinkard, of Oswego, Ill., the plant manager.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said witnesses told investigators that Martin had reported to work Friday and during a meeting with company officials was told he was being fired. He began shooting right after he was told, she said.

Martin was in illegal possession of the firearm he used in the attack. He was issued with an Illinois firearms ID in January 2014 and applied to purchase the handgun that was believed to be in the incident from a local gun dealer in Aurora in March 2014.

But on March 16, 2014, the shooter applied for a concealed carry permit where it was discovered he had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi.

Once this felony conviction was discovered, Martin’s concealed carry permit was rejected and his FOID card was revoked by Illinois State Police.

Ziman said under Illinois guidelines the State Police should have sent Martin a letter informing him that he was illegally in possession of a firearm and needed to turn in his weapon to authorities.

Police are trying to determine if that letter was sent and why the gun was never turned in. It was unclear if police or state authorities attempted to recover the weapon.

In addition to the Mississippi conviction, Martin had been arrested six times in the Aurora Police Department, including once in 2008 for a domestic matter. He was also arrested in 2017 in nearby Oswego, Ill., for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

Henry Pratt officials are scheduled to make their first public comments on the incident later Saturday.

The company, which has about 200 employees at its Aurora facility, manufactures parts for the potable water, wastewater, power generation and industrial markets. 

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