Police: Aurora, Illinois shooter had criminal record, should not have had gun

The man suspected of killing five people in Aurora, Ill., on Friday should not have had the weapon given his criminal record, Aurora police confirmed Saturday.

Gary Martin, 45, was carrying a Smith & Wesson handgun when he reported to work Friday at a manufacturing plant, according to police.

He had a lengthy criminal record with six prior arrests, including one for a felony aggravated assault charge that prevented him from legally owning the weapon.


“He was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm,” police Chief Kristen Ziman told reporters Saturday, noting police were investigating why the firearm had not been removed from Martin’s possession.

Martin, a 15-year employee of the plant, opened fire after attending a meeting in which his employment was terminated, authorities said.

The five deceased victims are believed to have been in that meeting or nearby in the plant. It is unclear if he was aware beforehand he was being fired, though authorities said they had no other information as to a possible motive.

Martin died after a shootout with officers, police said.

“He reported for work and during this meeting he was terminated. From my understanding from witnesses is that he opened fire right after the termination,” Ziman said Saturday.

Police said officers from 25-35 different agencies responded to the shooting Friday, in which five police officers were also injured. Their injuries are not life-threatening, police said.

Local officials held a press conference Friday to update the public on the incident and offer condolences for the victims, vowing to heal as a community.

“We will heal. We will come together as one community and stand by those in pain from today’s great loss. We will stand together with those officers shot in the line of duty. We will come together and heal as one Aurora,” Mayor Richard Irvin said.