Henry Pratt shooting memorialized in Aurora 5 years after 5 were killed

Friday, February 16, 2024
Aurora marks 5 years since Henry Pratt shooting
Aurora held a memorial ceremony to mark five years since the Henry Pratt Company shooting killed 5 people.

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- West suburban Aurora marked five years since the mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Company Thursday.

Russel Beyer, Vincente Juarez, Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard and Trevor Wehner were killed when a disgruntled employee walked into the company's warehouse and opened fire. A sixth employee was shot but survived.

Minutes after the workplace shooting, when police officers arrived, the gunman opened fire again and injured five responding officers

"It was 90 minutes of just terror with this shooter still at large and not knowing if it was one, if it was two. Not knowing how many victims. Not knowing how my officers were," said former Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman.

Aurora shooting victims: What we know about those killed in Henry Pratt warehouse shooting

A candlelight vigil was held to mark the somber occasion, and to honor the victims.

"You hear the word 'hero' get passed around a lot, but if I had to pick my favorite superhero, it would be my father. Nothing could break him, not even kryptonite," said Emily Pinkard, Josh Pinkard's daughter.

Tom Wehner lost his 21-year-old son Trevor, an intern on his very first day on the job.

"I really like it when people talk to me about Trevor you know. I feel like h e's still here kind of. Because you're hearing stories about him," he said.

The company eventually closed its Aurora plant.

"It gives us strength to remember it so we know what to look forward to in the future. This doesn't define who we are," said Mayor Richard Irvin.

"While nothing can anyone can say can bring back your family members nor get rid of the pain you feel, I hope we can give you some healing," said Fire Chief David McCabe.

A memorial bench was dedicated to the victims as well, and to Aurora's commitment to turn heartbreak into resolve.

"Your loved ones are forever written in the pages of Aurora's history, and their stories are permanently inscribed on the hearts of those in our community," Irvin said.

City officials said that memorial bench, which was donated by the Henry Pratt Company, will forever have a place at the Aurora Police Department.