A Northern Illinois University student who was set to graduate in May and was working his first day as a human resources intern was among the victims of Friday’s deadly shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. plant in Aurora, Illinois.
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Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman confirmed that Trevor Wehner was one of the five victims who police say were gunned down by Gary Martin, 45, a “disgruntled” worker who had been called into a meeting to be terminated, and who had brought the gun to work that day because he apparently had suspected as much, Ziman said.
Wehner, whose social media suggests he was an avid sports fan and keen on dogs, was not the only one to come from Northern Illinois University (NIU). Clay Parks, a human resources manager at Henry Pratt, had graduated in 2014 from the College of Business.
“A life long friend of my boys, was a young man starting his first day on the job at Henry Pratt and was an HR intern who sat in and observed the termination of the shooter! Andwas [sic] amongst the first of his victims,” wrote Cynthia Cascarano, a friend of the Wehner family, on her Facebook page.
“Each and every one of us have had a “First Day” on the job, his should have never ended this way,” she added. Wehner was 21 years old.
In a statement to students and faculty, Northern Illinois University president Lisa C. Freeman spoke on Wehner and Parks.
“It is with deep sadness that I write today to share that NIU student Trevor Wehner and alumnus Clay Parks were killed yesterday afternoon in the workplace shooting at Henry Pratt… Loss like this is devastating and senseless,” she said.
At least three of the five victims were present in the meeting with Martin. They were Wehner, Parks and Josh Pinkard, the plant manager who had been with the company for 13 years. Ziman said a preliminary investigation indicated that the deceased victims were found in the same general area of the facility.
Vicente Juarez, a stockroom attendant and forklift driver who held other jobs in the warehouse since 2006, and Russ Beyer, a 20-year employee who who also took on a variety of different jobs at the plant, were the other two victims in the massacre.
In addition to the five victims, another worker at the plant was shot but had their wounds treated, Ziman said. Four officers were also shot by the gunman in the upper and lower extremities within minutes of arriving on the scene, a fifth officer suffered shrapnel wounds, and a sixth officer was injured while responding to the scene but it was unrelated to the shootout, she said.
The ordeal lasted about an hour-and-a-half, beginning around 1:24 p.m. and ending at 2:59 p.m., when officers confirmed that the suspect had been neutralized in a machine shop in the “very back corner of the building,” Aurora police Lt. Rick Robertson said during the press conference.