Aurora mourns five lives lost in workplace shooting

The community in west suburban Aurora was continuing to mourn the workplace shooting at a manufacturing plant which left multiple people dead and several police officers injured, gathering national attention.      

When the first shots were fired by the gunman, there were nine total people in the administration building of the Henry Pratt Co., according to the CEO and executive director of its parent company, Mueller Water Products.

Each one of the victims killed was shot Friday afternoon when the gunman started shooting minutes after being fired after a 15-year career.

Forklift operator Vicente Juarez, a husband, father, a grandfather, and a 13-year employee was shot and killed just seconds after the murder of Northern Illinois University student and 21-year-old intern Trevor Wehner. It was his first day on the job. He was expected to graduate in May.

Human resource manager Clayton Park started at the company in November and was killed along with Wehler.

Russell Beyer was a 20-year employee and served as union chairman, according to the company. Plant manager Josh Pinkard had been with the company since 2006.

“Friday was the worst day our company has ever had,” said CEO and Chairman Scott Hall.

Each of the victims killed were in the room with the gunman when he was terminated, the company said.

When asked if it is company policy for an intern to sit in on an employee termination, Hall was not able to say but said the company was reviewing its procedures.

Each of the victims was remembered at a North Aurora prayer service Saturday evening.

“First and foremost it broke my heart,” said Paul Pinner, who attended the service.

Hall said the gunman arrived to work Friday morning around 7 a.m. and was called into the office to be fired for what he said was a "culmination of various rules violations," declining to go into further detail.

Hall also admitted the company had no knowledge of the gunman’s 1995 Mississippi felony conviction, apparently not picked up on a background check.

The company said it is unlikely to return to production Monday.