Recent shooting in Aurora Illinois
How could a man who has had a history of portraying aggression and violence for years slip through officials hands as if he was not harmful to the public around him? Gary Martin, 45, opened fire at his coworkers on February 15th, killing six people and injuring six others.
It has been stated that Martin was called in for a “termination” meeting at his workplace; Henry Pratt Company which is located in Aurora, Illinois. Scott Hall, the company’s president and chief executive claimed that Martin was under fire for violating various rules within the workplace. It was unclear if he knew prior to the meeting whether he was going to get fired, but according to Dennis Rokop, a retired nuclear project manager, Martin was most likely aware that he was facing a termination meeting.
He states, “You don’t just fire a union guy…You have to build a case against him. It’s a big drawn-out process.” Martin worked for the Henry Pratt Company for fifteen years, so with that being said, gathering up enough evidence to get him terminated must have taken a decent amount of time and effort.
Authorities claim that Martin did not have legal rights to carry the gun he used on the day of the massacre. Reporter Mark Guarino states, Martin was able to obtain an Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification Card despite his felony records. These records consisted of, Martin getting arrested a total of six times in 2017 for disorderly conduct and damage to property and in 1994, his girlfriend at the time, Chyreese Jones brought charges against Martins after he stabbed her several times with a kitchen knife. Jones reveals that she wanted to end her relationship with Martin, but Martin refused to let that happen without a “big bang.”
It has been revealed by authorities that Martin wrote to Jones while in jail stating, “I don’t know how much longer I can keep my thoughts to myself. I’ve got so much to say but I don’t know who to say them to…This pain and hurt is with me day and night and I just can’t seem to shake it.”
Martin was described as a very disgruntled and mentally unstable man for a good portion of his life. That being said, how was he able to get access to obtaining a gun license? Guarino reveals that Martin purchased a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun, and applied for a concealed carry permit.
This process required fingerprinting, which Martin did not pass. Officials discovered Martin’s felony convictions, and his Firearm Owner’s Identification Card was revoked. Though, there is no evidence proving that authorities attempted to confiscate the gun he already purchased.
Martin arrived to his meeting on Friday carrying the same Smith & Wesson handgun that was never confiscated by officials. Moments after getting fired, Martin opened fire and police were called to the scene at about 1:30 p.m. Within just a few minutes, Martin shoots five officers. It took about an hour and a half for officials to find him, but once they did- they managed to kill him.
Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman exclaims, “The fact remains is that some disgruntled person walked in and had access to a firearm that he shouldn’t have had access to…I don’t want to make it political. This is a human issue. Lives were lost.”
The victims killed in the tragic shooting were, Clayton Parks, a human resource manager; Trevor Wehner, a human resource intern and student at Northern Illinois University; Russel Beyer, a mold operator; Vicente Juarez, a stock room attendant and fork lift operator; and Josh Pinkard, a plant manager. Trevor Wehner was murdered on his first day as an intern at the Henry Plant Company. Cynthia Rose Cascarano writes in a Facebook post, “Each and every one of us have had a ‘First Day’ on the job,” Cascarano wrote. “His should have never ended this way.”
In order to prevent tragedies like this one, there needs to be a change within gun laws. Officials need to be checking background histories on individuals more and confiscating guns when necessary should be prioritized for the safety of the public.
Iva Juka, a junior, studies English. She is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.