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Man sacked from his job kills five after opening fire at manufacturing complex in US

A number of police officers were also injured in the gun spree.

Police officers armed with rifles stage near a building where the shooting took place
Police officers armed with rifles stage near a building where the shooting took place
Image: Antonio Perez/PA Images

Updated Feb 16th 2019, 9:02 AM

A MAN WHO was sacked from his job at a manufacturing complex shot and killed five co-workers and wounded five police officers before being gunned down himself.

The shooting took place at approximately 1:28 pm local time yesterday, at a giant manufacturing complex in Aurora, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago.

Police named the suspect as Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora.

He was a 15-year employee of the company and “information that we have indicates that he was being terminated today”, said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

The shooting came the day after Nancy Pelosi, the powerful speaker of the House of Representatives, said gun violence is a “national emergency” far more real than the one President Donald Trump ultimately declared Friday to build his wall at the Mexican border.

Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman said five police officers were shot. Two were air lifted to Chicago-area trauma centers.

“The other officers on the scene located gunshot victims inside the building,” Ziman told a news conference, putting the death toll at five people.

Ziman did not have further details about why Martin was being fired, whether the killing was pre-meditated, or whether the victims were involved in his dismissal.

“Five employees were located deceased inside the building,” and preliminary reports indicated they were killed before police arrived, Ziman told reporters.

One other employee was wounded but his life was not in danger, she said.

Witnesses said they locked themselves into nearby buildings as the gunman began firing.

Aerial TV footage showed dozens of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks at the scene as officers with shields entered the complex.

John Probst, who was in the building as the shooting began but was able to escape, told the local ABC TV affiliate he recognised the gunman as a co-worker.

“What I saw was the guy running down the aisles with a pistol with a laser on it,” he said. “We were just scared.”

Nancy Caal, an employee of a nearby repair workshop, told the Daily Herald newspaper that she and three others had heard numerous emergency sirens, and so “went and shut the front gate and locked all of the doors”.

The local school district put campuses on lock down, but students were released later in the day.

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police lauded the wounded police officers who “willingly ran into harm’s way to protect their fellow citizens and very nearly paid the ultimate price”.

The White House said President Donald Trump had been monitoring the situation.

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

The shooting comes just a day after the first anniversary of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former pupil killed 14 students and three staff.

Nearly 1,200 children lost their lives to gun violence in the year since and there have been 37 mass shootings – those with at least four victims, not including the assailant – recorded already in the US this year.

- © AFP 2019

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