Aurora mass shooting: Officers wounded while responding to deadly workplace shooting share their stories

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- Two of the police officers who were shot and wounded while responding to the deadly workplace shooting in Aurora are reflecting on what happened as their healing continues.

For Marco Gomez, rehab has become nearly a full-time job.

Nearly one year after being shot in the hip responding to the call of an active shooter at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, he is just now on the verge of returning regular duty. But it will be with a different perspective.

He was the first of five Aurora officers shot by gunman Gary Martin, after he had already killed five employees, and was apparently hunting for more.

"The fact that we know there's an active shooter and there is a potential for mass casualties, we felt we had to stop him from hurting anyone else," Gomez said.

While most employees were running from the gunfire,Gomez and other first responders were running toward it. John Cebulski was one of the first officers on the inside the plant searching for the gunman when he got hit.

"I never saw the gun, but I heard 6-8 shots and saw a burst of gunfire. It felt like someone smacking my knee with a baseball bat," Cebulski said. He has been on light desk duty since June.

The day of the shooting he was supposed to attend his son's senior night for basketball. In light of the tragedy for the community, the school rescheduled it and Cebulski was able to attend in a wheelchair.

As the one year anniversary approaches, his memories are still fresh.

"Yeah, I was scared, but I didn't think about it because we had to focus on the task at hand," said Cebulski, who has been lauded as a hero by city officials.

For Gomez, who also has young children, and served two tours of duty in Iraq, the focus has always been on the five people who were killed.

"I guarantee any of us would trade places with those five victims," said Gomez.

The city of Aurora will observe a moment of silence at 1:24 p.m., the time of the shooting, on Saturday. Flags will fly at half staff in town and they will read the names of the five victims over the radios.
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