Aurora mayor gives State of the City address in wake of mass shooting

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- The mayor of Aurora gave his State of the City address Tuesday night, in which he reflected on the workplace shooting that killed five people at the Henry Pratt Company last month.

The gathering was a show of civil pride, solidarity and gratitude.

"We are Aurora. We are strong. We are Aurora Strong," said Mayor Richard Irvin.

Irvin delivered the address two and a half weeks after the mass shooting. The victims were remembered with heavy hearts.

"Today we stand strong for the families of Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez, Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard, and Trevor Wehner," Irvin said.

Officer James Zegar, one of the wounded responders, returned to the force Tuesday. Remarkably, it was revealed Zegar came to the aid of gunman Gary Martin in 1999, when Martin was wounded in another shooting.

"He crossed paths with him again, this time in a very different circumstance. There are no words for that. I can't explain it," said Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

The wounded officers were not in the audience, but some of their colleagues were.

"We salute all those who served that day and everyday keeping our community safe," said Aurora Chief Management Officer Alex Alexandrou.

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The mayor of Aurora gave his State of the City address Tuesday night, in which he reflected on the workplace shooting that killed five people at the Henry Pratt Company last month.



Many residents are still coming to grips with the violence that is now associated with their hometown.
Bradley Green is a lifelong Aurora resident who lives not far from the Henry Pratt plant where a gunman killed five people in February. Like many he watched the horrific events on the news and reflected on what it meant to his town.

The Aurora Historical society asked Green to perform the song at an event last weekend.

"It will be a part of our history, but our response is what's important," said Mary Clark Ormond, historical society president.
That response, according to Ormond, includes the heroism of the first responders who were shot as they ran into the factory trying to prevent more deaths.

While tragic, the mass shooting is an unfortunate landmark event in the city's 182 year history. And it is what many outside Aurora will now think of when they hear the city's name. Green hopes they will also think of Aurora Strong.
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