Witnesses describe confusion, chaos at Aurora shooting

Police chief Kristen Ziman said that at least five victims are deceased after the shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois, where four officers and a "number of civilians" were struck.

Posted: Feb 16, 2019 12:20 AM
Updated: Feb 16, 2019 12:20 AM

John Probst says he recognized the gunman.

An employee at the Henry Pratt company, which specializes in making valves, Probst told CNN affiliate WLS-TV on Friday that he saw a man holding what appeared to be a pistol with a laser scope. He recognized him as a coworker.

"One of the guys was up in the office, he said this person was shootin', and he come running down and he was bleeding pretty bad, and the next thing you know he was walking back and forth. I heard more shots, and we just left the building," Probst said.

Probst told WLS there were about 30 people in the building at the time of the shooting. Probst said he and a coworker escaped through the back door. Probst said a nearby resident allowed him and his coworker to shelter in a home.

Five people were killed in the shooting in Aurora, Illinois, about 45 miles from Chicago. The suspected shooter, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, was also killed. Martin was an employee at the company where the shooting occurred, police said.

Five officers were wounded during the shooting and a sixth is dealing with a knee injury, according to Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman. State and federal agencies swarmed the industrial area.

At nearby business, 'We have our doors locked'

One block away, Fanny Cano, a secretary at pallet company Diaz Pallets, told CNN that about eight employees were on lockdown.

"It's scary," she said. "A police officer came and told us not to go out because it's dangerous. And a person who was coming to drop off some pallets called us to say to stay inside, there's shooting outside."

Cano said employees at the company use a lot of nail guns, so they didn't hear any gunfire. She did receive a call from West Aurora High School, where her daughter attends, which was also on lockdown. Cano said being stuck inside was terrifying because she had no idea what was happening.

"You don't know what's going on outside. We have our doors locked. We're just waiting," she said.

Diana Muniz, whose family owns a restaurant about a block from shooting scene, told CNN a customer came in Friday afternoon and said there were police vehicles all over.

"Right before that we heard some shooting," Muniz said. "There was one shot and then boom, boom, boom ... A lot of gunfire followed by a lot of ambulances ... racing to the scene."

Muniz says a lot of supervisors and workers from the Pratt company eat at the restaurant.

Maria, who lives near the crime scene but didn't provide her last name, told WLS she saw police cars zooming past her house before she heard gunshots.

"It sounded like a machine gun," Maria said. "I heard more gunshots and that's when I went inside."

Governor: 'There is no way to prepare for the pain'

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker acknowledged the bravery of law enforcement during the shooting.

"You rushed toward danger and, in doing that, you saved countless lives and you represent the very best of what it means to protect our communities and serve our communities," he said at a news conference.

He also said "there is no way to prepare for the pain of losing innocent people in the state you were elected to lead, the state you were elected to protect."

"Tomorrow the families of the victims will be less than whole," Pritzker said. "They join a group that should not exist, and yet continues to grow."

Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said during the same news conference that Friday was "a sad day in Aurora."

"For so many years, we've seen similar situations throughout our nation and the horrible feeling that we get when we see it on the news," Irvin said. "To experience it first hand, is even more painful."

Top state officials also voiced their concerns on social media.

"I am monitoring the situation in Aurora, Illinois," US Sen. Tammy Duckworth tweeted. "This is a scary, sad day for all Illinoisans and Americans. Thank you to the brave first responders who risked their lives this afternoon and apprehended the shooter."

US. Sen. Dick Durbin said in a tweet that his "heart breaks for Aurora."

"I'm tracking updates on the situation with my staff. Thank you to the members of law enforcement who are responding to the emergency."

President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting Friday, thanking law enforcement for their work.

"Great job by law enforcement in Aurora, Illinois. Heartfelt condolences to all of the victims and their families. America is with you!" he tweeted.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108902

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287491467
Cuyahoga1158082211
Hamilton814091250
Montgomery525571043
Summit484351001
Lucas43359820
Butler39018606
Stark33338929
Lorain25675505
Warren24595303
Mahoning22376603
Lake21211388
Clermont20124253
Delaware18856136
Licking16663222
Fairfield16576204
Trumbull16551482
Medina15612271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11607211
Miami10849225
Wayne9146223
Columbiana9034230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8650250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7161179
Hancock6999132
Ross6945161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584649
Lawrence5732102
Jefferson5679158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5320109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444366
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275365
Henry273467
Holmes2702101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: °
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 66°
Van Wert
Mostly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Calm and cool conditions are expected across the Midwest through the middle of the work week.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events