Five people have been killed after a gunman opened fire in Aurora, Illinois

Five people have been killed after a gunman opened fire in Aurora, Illinois

Five people have been killed and several more injured as a man opened fire in a firm based in Aurora, Illinois, police have confirmed.

The shooter was identified as Gary Martin, a 45-year-old who had worked at the Henry Pratt manufacturing company in Aurora, 40 miles from Chicago, for 15 years. At the time, he had reportedly just discovered he had lost his job, and was killed in an exchange with police.

At around 13:24 local time (19:24 GMT), Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman said in a press conference that law enforcement was called to address an "active shooter" in an industrial park. Officers that arrived on the scene were "fired upon immediately", while Ziman added that they had information that indicated that Martin "was being terminated today".

Illinois shooting Credit: Getty

A rescue task force was quickly deployed to the industrial park as well as fire services and paramedics, and Gary Martin was killed following an exchange of fire with police. Five police officers were injured in that exchange, with all of them believed to be in a stable condition.

Five people at the scene lost their lives during the shooting at Henry Pratt, which manufactures water pipes. One of the witnesses, John Probst, works at the company, and recognised the shooter as one of his colleagues, saying the man was carrying a handgun with a laser sight, though this has not been confirmed by police.

"One of the guys was up in the office. He said this person was shooting, and, he come running down, and he was bleeding pretty bad, and the next thing you know, he was walking back and forth, I heard more shots, and we just left the building," Probst explained.

Illinois shooting Credit: Getty

Aurora mayor Richard Irvin called Friday "a sad day in the city of Aurora". "It’s a shame that mass shootings such as this have become commonplace in our country," Irvin added.

"Our hearts go out to the victims in this horrific tragedy. Our prayers to their families during what I'm sure will be a long and painful healing process. But we will heal. We will come together as one community and stand by those in pain from today's great loss. We will stand together with those officers shot in the line of duty. We will come together and heal as One Aurora."

Meanwhile, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker also paid tribute to victims of the shooting.

"There are no words for the kinds of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes and their dreams and their futures. To the families of the victims here in Aurora there are no words I can offer to lessen the pain but know that our state grieves with you."

US President Donald Trump also tweeted support for the victims, commending the Aurora police for "great law enforcement". The shooting comes a day after the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed by a lone shooter.