Gunman in plant shooting vowed to kill everyone and ‘blow police up’: Report
MicroStockHub/iStock(AURORA, Ill.) — The man who allegedly shot to death five coworkers at an Illinois manufacturing plant in February told a colleague on the morning of the shooting that he would kill everyone if he got fired, according to a newly released report.
An employee at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois, told authorities that Gary Martin vowed to kill other employees and “blow up police” if the company terminated him over a safety violation, prosecutors revealed in a report on Monday.
“If I get fired, I’m going to kill every motherf***** in here,” he allegedly told his co-worker. “I am going to blow police up.”
The unidentified employee said they didn’t think to report the comments on Feb. 15 because Martin frequently made “off the wall” comments, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office review. The employee was aware that Martin kept a gun in his vehicle, but they said they had no idea that he brought it into the facility that morning.
Martin, 45, opened fire a few hours later during a disciplinary meeting over his refusal to wear safety glasses, according to the nine-page review. Police said he died in a gunfight with officers after killing five colleagues, including the company’s human resources manager.
Police previously characterized Martin as a disgruntled employee, but the report released Monday showed the first details of events leading up to the mass shooting.
Martin allegedly brought the gun and ammunition into the plant when he clocked in that morning, prosecutors said, noting that he didn’t appear to return to his vehicle prior to opening fire.
Witnesses said Martin retrieved an unknown item from his work station, put on a hoodie and stopped at the restroom just before he went into a private meeting to address the safety incident at around 1 p.m., according to the report.
Martin entered the meeting and was “immediately presented” with a write-up, the report said. Human resources manager Clayton Parks then told Martin they would begin the termination process.
Martin began using profanity and Josh Pinkard, a plant manager, told him “it’s over.” Martin replied, “Yeah, it’s over” and began to shoot, according to the report.
Parks, Pinkard and two other employees at the meeting, Russell Beyer and Trevor Wehner, were among those killed. Union steward Timothy Williams was wounded trying to escape the room.
“Mr. Williams started to get up, and then he noticed rapid movement and heard gunshots,” prosecutors said. “Mr. Williams ran toward the door and was shot in the wrist. He ran out of the room and down the stairs, yelling, ‘Gary is shooting.'”
Employees said they saw Martin chasing Williams with a gun in his hand and yelled for him to stop. Martin continued to pursue Williams and eventually shot him twice more in the back, the report said. He then went to a loading area where he fatally shot Vincent Juarez, a stock room attendant and fork lift operator who he was seen speaking with earlier in the day.
“It is apparent from the evidence that he specifically targeted Mr. Juarez,” the report said.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s office also laid out a detailed account of the police response, beginning with officers being dispatched to the active shooter scene at 1:24 p.m. and ending with the gunman being fatally shot by police at 2:59 p.m.
After reviewing the case, the office concluded that the officers who fired at Martin were justified in using deadly force. Five officers sustained gunfire-related injuries.
“The offender fired multiple gunshots at police officers arriving at the location of the incident without provocation or legal justification,” the report said. “The offender did not respond to multiple verbal commands to cease his actions and surrender at any time.”
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