AURORA, Ill. — An angry worker who opened fire inside a suburban Chicago factory where he had worked for years was barred from having the handgun he was carrying, officials said on Saturday.
Gary Martin, 45, who died in an exchange of fire with the police after a rampage on Friday that left five co-workers dead and at least six other people wounded, had already had his state weapons permit revoked because of a felony assault conviction from years earlier, the police in Aurora, Ill., said. Still, they said, his gun was never taken away.
“Some disgruntled person walked in and had access to a firearm that he shouldn’t have had access to,” said Kristen L. Ziman, the chief of police in Aurora, where the shooting took place.
[Read more about the shooting here.]
Ms. Ziman said that the police were trying to determine why Mr. Martin still had a gun.
According to Illinois gun law, a person must be granted a Firearm Owners Identification card, or FOID, to possess a firearm. At least two million people in the state have the cards.
But under the law, the process to keep firearms out of the hands of a person whose card has been revoked is weak, allowing many people to keep their weapons with little threat of enforcement or penalty.
That appears to have been the case with Mr. Martin, who police said received a card in January 2014. In March 2014, he applied for a concealed-carry permit, and during that background check it was discovered that he had a felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi from 1995.
The Illinois State Police then revoked Mr. Martin’s card and mailed him a letter ordering him to relinquish his firearm and card within 48 hours.
It is typical in Illinois, officials said, for local law enforcement to fail to take action at that point and to seize firearms if they are not surrendered voluntarily. In 2016, only about 4,000 of the 11,000 people whose cards were revoked submitted the mandatory reports explaining what they did with their guns, The Chicago Tribune reported in 2017.
Sgt. Bill Rowley, a spokesman for the Aurora Police Department, said the police had no record of being notified by the state police that Mr. Martin had not volunteered his firearm as required in 2014. It was unclear whether Mr. Martin, who lived in Aurora at the time of his death, also lived there in 2014.
A day after the shooting, police gave a fuller account of the deadly events inside the Henry Pratt Company warehouse on Friday afternoon, and identified the five workers — all apparently co-workers of Mr. Martin — who were killed.
The victims included some of the company’s most experienced workers but also its newest: Josh Pinkard, who was the plant manager of the warehouse, perished in the shooting, as did Trevor Wehner, who was a student at Northern Illinois University and an intern in the company’s human resources department. Mr. Wehner was expected to graduate from college in May. Friday, when the shooting occurred, was the first day of his internship, according to officials from Northern Illinois University.
Also killed, the police said, were Vicente Juarez, a stock room attendant and forklift operator; Clayton Parks, the human resources manager; and Russell Beyer, a mold operator. Officials at Northern Illinois said that Mr. Parks had also graduated from the university, in 2014, and said it was offering counseling help to those in need. (The school, in DeKalb, Ill., was the site of another mass shooting 11 years ago.)
Police first received several 911 calls at 1:24 p.m. on Friday, as frantic callers said there was a shooter at the warehouse. Mr. Martin had been summoned to what police described as a “termination meeting” at the warehouse where he had worked for at least 15 years. At least two victims were shot at the scene of that meeting.
Four minutes later, police arrived and were confronted by the gunman. Two of the first four officers to arrive were shot and transported to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening.
According to the police, Mr. Martin then retreated into the 29,000-square-foot building, hiding from officers in a machine shop near the back of the facility. It took about 90 minutes for officers to find, shoot and kill him.
Family members of Mr. Martin arrived at the Aurora police station on Friday afternoon, weeping and hugging one another after officers told them that he was dead.
“He was the shooter,” said Tameka Martin, who said she was Mr. Martin’s sister. “He shot officers. If they did shoot him and kill him, they were, I guess, defending themselves.”
Ms. Martin said that her brother had told his family that he had lost his job at Henry Pratt. At dinner a few nights ago at their mother’s home, Mr. Martin would barely speak about it. He was “very depressed,” she said.
Sarah Mervosh, Julia Jacobs and Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributed reporting from New York, and Doris Burke contributed research from New York.
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