At Least 6 Dead, Including Gunman, In Aurora, Ill., Shooting
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
A man opened fire at a factory in Aurora, Ill., today, killing five people and wounding several more. The victims include police officers who were responding to the shooting. The gunman was also killed. NPR's David Schaper has been monitoring this. He joins us now from Chicago. And David, first just walk us through what happened here. This is at a factory - right? - around 40 miles outside of Chicago.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Right, Audie. The shooting happened at a facility owned by the Henry Platt company. It's a company that makes water valves and valves for power generators and other similar equipment. The police chief of Aurora, Kristen Ziman, says several 911 calls came in reporting an active shooter in the plant at about 1:24 p.m. this afternoon Central Time. Within just four minutes, the first officers were on the scene. And the shooter opened fire on them.
Those - first two responding officers were both hit and wounded. Three more officers eventually were hit and wounded. They exchanged gunfire with the shooter and an ultimately shot and killed him. Now, when they finished securing the scene and had the shooter contained and shot, they found that there were five other victims who were shot and killed at the scene, all employees of the plant. Here is the police chief of Aurora, Kristen Ziman.
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CHIEF KRISTEN ZIMAN: My heart goes out to the victims and their families who simply went to work today like any other day. We offer our sincere condolences. And as the facts of this tragedy unfold, we will provide information and attempt to make sense of it.
CORNISH: At this point, what has been reported about the shooter? What have you learned?
SCHAPER: Well, what the police chief said is that the shooter's name is Gary Martin. He's 45 years old, and he worked at the plant. A co-worker told a TV station that he actually showed up for work with everyone else that morning, and the day seemed to progressed normally. Some media outlets are reporting that he may have been fired or laid off, that he may have been in the process of being fired when he snapped or some sort of thing, and that may have been what led to this shooting spree.
The investigation, as the police chief mentioned, is still continuing to try to figure out a motor - a motive. But again, he was killed in exchange of gunfire with police and pronounced dead at the scene. We do know that police are now searching his apartment, which is also in the city of Aurora, and that they have a bomb squad on the scene, too, checking to see if anything might have been booby trapped there.
CORNISH: And the victims - what about them?
SCHAPER: Well, we don't know any of the victims' names. We do know that there were five police officers who responded to the shooting who were struck by gunfire. Two of them had to be airlifted to other hospitals, and then the five other victims, we understand, are employees of the plant. But they - their names have not been released. There were a few other victims who were injured, but we don't have a total of the number of injuries quite yet.
CORNISH: And the response by the community?
SCHAPER: Well, you know, there's a lot of exasperation, a lot of frustration and a lot of sadness, you know, in Aurora. This is a town not far from where another shooting happened 11 years ago on Valentine's Day. And the governor was very sad and expressed an exasperation with the continuation of gun violence here.
CORNISH: That's NPR's David Schaper. David, thanks so much.
SCHAPER: My pleasure, Audie.
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