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 15, 2019 11:20 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2019 11:20 PM

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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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