UPDATE: Five dead in U.S. mass shooting after gunman ‘lost job’

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UPDATE: Five dead in U.S. mass shooting after gunman ‘lost job’
Gary Martin
Gary Martin

(SKY NEWS) — A gunman who killed five people and wounded several police officers at a warehouse near Chicago opened fire as he was being fired by the company, authorities say.

Police named the killer as 45-year-old Gary Martin, who had worked at the Henry Pratt manufacturing company in Aurora, Illinois for 15 years.

He was shot dead by officers following his deadly rampage after police responded to reports of “active shooter” at about 2pm local time on Friday (8pm GMT).

Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman said Martin was armed with a handgun but it was not yet clear whether he was carrying the weapon at the time he was being fired or whether he went to retrieve it before opening fire.

Five employees were killed at the Henry Pratt Company, which makes valves for industrial purposes. A sixth worker was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Five police officers were wounded after being shot as they entered the building, while a sixth officer suffered a knee injury but was not hit by gunfire.

The officers who were shot are described as being in a stable condition in hospital.

Ms Ziman said she did not have information about whether the gunman had a criminal history, but public records showed Martin was convicted in 1995 for aggravated assault in Mississippi.

A woman who identified herself to police as Martin’s mother told authorities her son was “stressed out” about losing his job, the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper reported.

Witness John Probst said he recognised the gunman, who had “a pistol with a laser”, as someone who works at the company.

He said he was not hurt but another colleague was “bleeding pretty bad”.

The attack happened a day after the first anniversary of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead.

Aurora Mayor Richard C Irvin said: “It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country.

“It’s a shame that a cold and heartless offender would be so selfish as to think he has the right to take an innocent life.”

US President Donald Trump praised the response of emergency crews to the mass shooting.

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

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