March 18, 2019
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Man kills 5 in workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois

Washington, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- A man who was being terminated from his job fatally shot five people at a factory in the suburbs of the US metropolis of Chicago on Friday before being killed by police, authorities said.

Five officers were also wounded in the exchange of gunfire with the attacker at Henry Pratt Company manufacturing warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said at an evening press conference.

The shooter was identified by police as company employee Gary Martin, 45, who was believed to be acting alone.

“We know that he was a 15-year veteran and information we have indicates that he was being terminated today,” Ziman said.

The first calls to police about the shooting came at 1.24pm (19:24 GMT) from inside the building and officers entered the plant at 1.28pm.

“The officers arrived on scene and were immediately confronted by Gary Martin, a 45-year-old man armed with a handgun. The male fired upon the officers as they arrived,” Ziman said.

The first officer was shot outside the building, and the others inside upon entering, she added, and officers searched the 29,000 square foot facility in an attempt to locate and stop the shooter.

“Officers ultimately confronted the offender inside the building at which time he fired at them. The officers returned fire killing the offender,” Ziman added.

Five employees were found dead inside the building and one is being treated in hospital for non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

The deceased employees and the officers, who have non-life threatening injuries, have not been named.

Police are searching Martin’s residence and an investigation is continuing at the factory.

Aurora is a city of some 200,000 residents located 60km (37mi) west of downtown Chicago.

The city's mayor called it "a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country."

"It's a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life. But we as a society cannot allow these horrific acts to become commonplace," he said.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who took office last month, joined Aurora officials at an earlier press briefing on the tragedy.

"There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors if their hopes, their dreams and their futures," he said. "There are no words to express our gratitude to the officers who were wounded in the line of duty as they responded to the gravest kind of danger they could face."

President Donald Trump reacted to news of the shooting with praise for the police response and an expression of sympathy for the victims and their loved ones.

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

The violence in Aurora came a day after the one-year anniversary of the massacre of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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