Aurora Shooter Illegally Possessed Gun Used in Attack, Police Say

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The perpetrator of a mass shooting Friday in Aurora, IL, that killed six people, including the shooter, and injured five police officers, illegally possessed the gun used in the attack, police said on Saturday.


Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman told reporters that the shooter, Gary Martin, 45, had a 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi that prevented him from legally owning the firearm.

Ziman said Martin, a 15-year employee of the suburban Chicago manufacturing company Henry Pratt, where the attack occurred, began shooting during a meeting in which he was reportedly being fired. The employees killed in the shooting are human resources manager Clayton Parks, human resources intern Trevor Wehner, mold operator Russell Beyer, forklift operator Vicente Juarez, and plant manager Josh Pinkard, according to CNN.

Wehner, a college student, was killed during his first day on the job, USA Today and others reported.

The officers who were injured during the 90-minute ordeal, which ended in a shootout between police and the gunman, were shot within five minutes of arriving on the scene on Friday afternoon. None of their injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

According to Ziman, Martin obtained the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun used in the mass shooting from a local gun dealer in March 2014, two months after being issued an IL firearms ID, USA Today reported. According to CNN, Martin passed a background check and was not subjected to a fingerprint check at the time.

However, Martin then applied for a concealed carry permit later in March 2014, which did require a fingerprint check. He was flagged for the 1995 felony conviction, the permit request was rejected, and his firearms ID was revoked.


According to the newspaper:

Ziman said under Illinois guidelines the State Police should have sent Martin a letter informing him that he was illegally in possession of a firearm and needed to turn in his weapon to authorities.

Police are trying to determine if that letter was sent and why the gun was never turned in. It was unclear if police or state authorities attempted to recover the weapon.

In addition to the Mississippi conviction, Martin had been arrested six times in the Aurora Police Department, including once in 2008 for a domestic matter. He was also arrested in 2017 in nearby Oswego, Ill., for disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.


“Absolutely he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm,” Ziman said, according to NBC News.

Weekend Editor, Splinter