Witnesses describe confusion, chaos at Aurora shooting

Article Image

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.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33006

Reported Deaths: 2002
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5414239
Cuyahoga4060221
Marion262323
Hamilton2492128
Lucas2152229
Pickaway204635
Mahoning1347171
Summit1277159
Butler81725
Stark69790
Columbiana65750
Lorain65358
Montgomery60915
Trumbull54045
Belmont40212
Miami35130
Warren34020
Tuscarawas3212
Portage31657
Medina30719
Delaware30213
Ashtabula28332
Lake28212
Wood27745
Geauga25829
Wayne25250
Fairfield2463
Clark2256
Licking21410
Mercer2003
Clermont1935
Allen19131
Richland1873
Erie1595
Darke15616
Madison1417
Washington11718
Crawford1063
Morrow1041
Greene945
Ottawa927
Putnam8714
Monroe7311
Sandusky7010
Hocking694
Ross662
Auglaize643
Jefferson632
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Union460
Muskingum450
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby402
Logan370
Fayette370
Wyandot362
Fulton350
Guernsey320
Defiance322
Preble301
Lawrence280
Holmes281
Carroll282
Champaign271
Coshocton260
Brown251
Knox231
Seneca192
Highland191
Vinton191
Ashland190
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding130
Jackson120
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Meigs60
Pike60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Scattered Storms Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events