CHICAGO (CBS) — A moment of silence will be held Monday afternoon at the Water Street Mall in Aurora, to remember the five people killed by a gunman at a manufacturing plant last week.
Owners of the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora opened their doors Monday to employees, as well as their friends and loved ones who are still reeling from Friday’s shooting. A longtime employee who was being fired on Friday pulled out a gun and started shooting Friday afternoon, killing five people, and wounding six others, including five police officers, before police killed the gunman.
The flag at the company’s facility was flying at half-staff Monday morning.
Many employees did not come back to the Pratt facility on Monday, and those who did were not there to work, but to remember fallen colleagues.
A moment of silence has been scheduled for 1:24 p.m. Monday at the Water Street Mall. The moment of silence is planned for the same time police received the first call about Friday’s shooting.
Meantime, wooden crosses have been placed outside the Henry Pratt manufacturing plant, bearing the names of the five employees who were slain:
- Human resources manager Clayton Parks, 32 of Elgin;
- Human resources intern and Northern Illinois University student Trevor Wehner, 21, of Dekalb;
- Hold operator Russell Beyer, 47, of Yorkville;
- Stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez, 54, of Oswego;
- and Plant manager Josh Pinkard, 37, of Oswego.
No one was talking on the way into the Aurora plant on Monday.
Once inside, they went upstairs for a company meeting to talk about counseling and other services available to more than 140 grief-stricken workers.
Steven Holt was a couple blocks away from the plant when the shooting started Friday afternoon. His cousin was working inside at the time. He survived. So on Monday, Holt got up early to pay his respects to the five men who did not.
“It means the world to me. Especially this being my hometown, Aurora,” he said.
Ashley Carchure’s uncle also was inside the plant Friday when a gunman shot 11 people. In the initial chaos, family members were desperately trying to reach him on his cell phone without success.
“We were kind of scared, because we thought, I don’t know. We were just really scared for him,” she said.
Relief came when her uncle finally answered his phone.
For five other families, however, there was no relief.
“I was really hurt that these families lost their loved ones,” Jennifer Chelikas said.
Holt said his cousin likely will take some time off work to think about the fragility of life, because he sat the shooter hours before the attack, and at the time he seemed perfectly normal.
“Everybody saw the guy in the morning. The same exact time everybody comes in,” he said.
A GoFundMe set up to help the families of the victims has raised more than $68,000 as of Monday morning. The city of Aurora is overseeing the fund, and has said the money will help the victims’ families with the financial burden of losing a relative.
Police said 45-year-old Gary Martin started shooting at a meeting where he was being fired for workplace rules violations on Friday. He had worked there 15 years, but the company said a background check didn’t reveal Martin’s 1995 conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi.
Illinois State Police revoked his Firearm Owner’s Identification Card in 2015 and sent him a letter informing him he must surrender his gun. Investigators said they are trying to determine how he kept the firearm.
Four of the five police officers shot by Martin have been released from the hospital. The fifth officer shot could be released later Monday, according to an Aurora police spokesman.