Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The gunman who shot and killed five people at a valve manufacturer in Aurora, Ill., opened fire at a meeting during which he was terminated, police said Saturday.
Gary Martin, a 15-year employee of the Henry Pratt Co., about 45 miles west of Chicago, died Friday during a shootout with police after he killed his colleagues.
Witnesses said Martin, 45, reported to work Friday afternoon and attended a meeting in which he was fired, Aurora police Chief Kristen Ziman said at a news conference Saturday. He opened fire in the warehouse, killing three people at the meeting, Clayton Parks, a human resources manager; Trevor Wehner, a human resources intern on his first day; and Josh Pinjar, a plant manager. The other two victims, Russell Beyer, a mold operator, and Vicente Juarez, a stock room attendant and forklift operator, were in the general area, Ziman said.
Also injured were six police officers ranging in age from from 23 to 53 years old, including five who were shot and one who sustained a knee injury. All of the police officers are "recovering and are under the care of physicians in the Chicago metro area," Ziman said.
Another employee who was shot was being treated at a local hospital and was expected to recover.
Martin did not have a permit for a weapon, including for the Smith and Wesson 40 used in the shooting.
Martin was issued an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card in January 2014. During the fingerprinting and background process, Martin's conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi in 1995, in which he served 2 1/2 years in prison, was discovered and his concealed carry application was denied.
Martin had six other arrests by the city police department, including for domestic violence-related issues.
The gunman was an assembly man at the plant, WLS-TV in Chicago reported.
During the shooting, which took 90 minutes to get under control, Martin used a gun with a laser sight, a witness said.
He was "running down the aisle" with a pistol that had a green laser sight on it," said John Probst, a 40-year employee of Henry Pratt Co. who survived the shooting. He said the gunman was a coworker.
"As soon as I saw the green thing and heard the shots, we left," Probst said. "He started opening up on the room and he was just shooting everybody."
Aurora police Lt. Rick Robertson said some shots were exchanged as the officers entered the office area.
"He was in a back machine shop at the very back corner of the building, farthest from the area that we made entry into the building," Robertson said. "He was probably waiting for us to get to him there, is the way that it appeared."
Martin was being fired "for a culmination of various workplace rules violations," Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products, the parent company of Henry Pratt, told reporters. He added a background check when Martin was hired 15 years ago did not turn up the Mississippi felony conviction.
Ziman speculated to reporters it was likely he knew he was going to be fired "as evidenced by him arming himself with a firearm."
The Henry Pratt Co. identifies itself as one of the nation's largest manufacturers of industrial valves.
The suburban apartment unit where the suspect is believed to have lived was taped off for investigation.
"There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams and their futures," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a news conference Friday night.
Pritzker said the officers "rushed toward danger, and in doing that ... saved countless lives."
Prtizker also expressed his sympathy for the victims' families, saying that there was nothing he could do to lessen their pain, but they should "know our state grieves with you."
President Donald Trump said Friday the officers did "a great job" and expressed his condolences to victims.
"Heartfelt condolences to all of the victims and their families," Trump tweeted. "America is with you!"