The five people who died in a mass shooting at Henry Pratt, a valve manufacturing company in Aurora, Illinois, were co-workers who included the plant manager, married fathers with young children, a grandfather, and a college student who was on his first day as an intern.
Their names were released by authorities in the wake of the mass shooting that also left five law enforcement officers wounded. You can see short biographies and photos below for each of the five deceased victims as they are obtained. Authorities say the gunman, Gary Martin, 45, a felon who worked at the plant for 15 years, opened fire at a job termination meeting that most of the victims were also attending. The victims were mostly discovered in the same area of the plant.
In addition to those who died, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman released this information about the police officers who were shot as they arrived at the scene, responding to a flurry of 911 calls. They did not suffer life-threatening wounds.
She said the police will “relentlessly pursue answers to questions about how a person could do such a thing.” The officers were not named, but Ziman provided these details:
Here’s what you need to know about the deceased victims:
Josh Pinkard was from Oswego, Illinois. He was a plant manager at Henry Pratt. Pinkard’s Facebook page says he was from Holly Pond, Alabama. His Facebook page is filled with pictures of his three small children and wife. Tributes flowed in for Josh Pinkard.
“Please pray for the family of Josh Pinkard, one of the 5 people killed in the Aurora shooting yesterday. I got to know Josh when he was a student at MSU about 15 years ago and he was active in BSU. Josh loved God and served others well. My heart is heavy this morning for this family,” wrote a man who knew Pinkard on Facebook.
His wife wrote a lengthy message on Facebook, revealing that he texted her that he loved her after he was shot.
You guys. I can’t even begin to start saying thank you for the love that has been poured out on us. Friday afternoon, the day after Valentine’s Day, was a literal nightmare. I received a text at 1:24 from my precious husband that said I love you, I’ve been shot at work. It took me several times reading it for it to hit me that it was for real. I called his phone several times, text, FaceTime, nothing. I called his plant and a lady answered and said she was barricaded in her room and police were everywhere. Of course my heart dropped. I grabbed my children and drove to his plant where I met a cop blocking off the roads. She couldn’t tell me anything. I drove to the nearest hospital. He wasn’t there. I drove to the second nearest hospital. Not there. While waiting there on news, chaplains, my pastor, neighbors, his coworkers came to sit with me and hold my hand. I waited for hours. I finally got in touch with the aurora pd who told me of a staging area for victims families. I don’t know how my body drove itself there but it did. The police told us there were fatalities. He read my husband’s name. I immediately left and went to get my kids. With my pastors help, since family was still on planes to get to us, I told my children their dad did not make it and is in heaven with Jesus. I’ve never had to do something that hard. Yesterday was filled with police conferences and visiting a coroner. Every thought in my mind and everything I see reminds me of a precious memory of my husband. I’ve been asked so many times by the media to talk about him. I literally can’t talk out loud about this lovely man without breaking down in sobs. I’m crying now as I write this. I want to shout from the rooftops about how amazing Josh was! He was brilliant! The smartest person I’ve ever met! My best friend! The man I would have leaned on during devastation like this who would tell me it’s ok Terra, it is all going to be fine. The man who was dying and found the clarity of mind for just a second to send me one last text to let me know he would always love me. This unbelievable person was robbed from us. The next few days are going to be filled with decisions to make on how to say my final goodbyes to a man I always said I couldn’t live without. But you guys have poured out your love on me. You have covered me, my children, our families with so much love and prayer. It is the only way we are doing it guys. Please continue to pray for my mother in law. This is her second child she will bury. Please pray for my sister in law. Josh was her twin brother. Please pray for my children. They are struggling because they miss a daddy who loved them so much. Please pray that somehow I can put that one foot in front of the other. And again thank you for all the kindness you have shown to us.
A relative wrote on Facebook, “Yesterday was a typical Friday until 1 phone call came that changed the entire day as minutes and hours passed waiting on more news and ultimately the most devestating news was delivered Josh Pinkard my first cousin a son brother husband and father had been 1 of the 5 people shot and killed in the Aurora Chicago shooting yesterday. Now from there you know the news of how all of that unfolded. Now…to the reunion that took place after Josh drew his last breath is where my mind has been ever since the final news was given you see Josh lost his little sister in an accident 12 years ago and yesterday she welcomed her bubba and he got to hold his sister again…we will mourn in the days ahead we will cry and hold each other a little tighter when saying goodbye but Josh was a good and faithful servant that accepted his Lord and savior Jesus Christ years ago and last night he got his wings but Kateah got her brother back for that we take comfort in knowing there was a reunion unlike any we will ever experience on earth.”
Another relative wrote on Facebook, “My family is hurting something serious today. My cousin husband was fatally shot yesterday in the Illinois shooting. Josh …leaves behind a beautiful wife Terra Pinkard and 3 precious children. They had moved from their home in Alabama for this job. All I could say last night to Nathan as I sobbed for my family is why!! That’s something I’ll never know. The loss of a father and husband is one of the deepest pains there is. Mercy, I know all too well. Josh Pinkard. I promise you I’ll be there for your beautiful wife and children. You were a great man and will truly be missed.”
Vicente Juarez was from Oswego, Illinois. He was a stockroom attendant and forklift operator at Henry Pratt. A woman who knew Vicente Juarez wrote on Facebook, “I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d ever be sharing such a heartbreaking post. My boyfriends father Vicente Juarez was one of the victims of the Henry-Pratt mass shooting. Our world has been completely turned upside down. We are all extremely devestated and would greatly appreciate if you would help us in this difficult time. Please keep our family in your prayers.”
There is a GoFundMe page to help the family of Vicente Juarez. It reads:
“As you all can imagine the need for such a page is something a family never wants to experience. On February 15, 2019 Vicente Juarez, a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, uncle, cousin… lost his life in the Henry Pratt Shooting in Aurora, IL.
We are asking for assistance to cover funeral arrangements and future assistance for his family. As many of you know, Vicente was the head of his household and his family depended on him extensively. We know that many other families have also experienced a loss and we appreciate any help.
This is the only designated GoFundMe page for the Juarez family. If there are any questions or concerns in relation to donations please email AssistFamilyJuarez@gmail.com.”
Police said that Clayton Parks was from Elgin, Illinois. He was the human resource manager at Henry Pratt. His Facebook page was filled with photos of his young child and wife.
Clayton Parks’ wife wrote a heartbreaking post on Facebook:
Every time I’ve closed my eyes over the last twelve hours, I’ve opened them hoping to wake from a terrible dream, but that’s not the case. I’m living my worst nightmare.
My husband, my love, my best friend, and the incredible father of our sweet son was taken from us yesterday in the shooting in Aurora, and I am devastated.
Axel and I have been surrounded by friends and family and are appreciative of all of the prayers and support we are receiving.
Beneath all the fog and the shock, and the crushing pain, I believe the same God that brought us together and gave us our precious son will somehow carry us through.
I’ll love you always and miss you forever, Clay.
According to News 25, Clayton Parks “was raised in Princeville, and graduated from Princeville High School. He also attended Illinois Central College.”
A woman wrote on Facebook, “CLAYTON PARKS – One of yesterday’s senseless shooting VICTIM here in Aurora. This man, strong full of life leaves behind a grieving wife. A beautiful family he worked so hard to build up. His children will never again be able to experience their father’s presence all due to this senseless shooting. R. I. P Clay Parks. A great, hardworking family man with a beautiful life and family gone too soon ♥”
Trevor Wehner was from DeKalb, Illinois. He was a human resources intern and student at Northern Illinois University.
The president of NIU wrote in a statement, “It is with deep sadness that I write today to share that NIU student Trevor Wehner and alumnus Clay Parks were killed yesterday afternoon in the workplace shooting at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, IL. Trevor was from Sheridan, IL, and expected to graduate in May with a degree in Human Resource Management. Friday was his first day as an intern at Henry Pratt. Clay was a 2014 graduate of the College of Business and worked as a human resources manager.”
A woman who knew Trevor wrote:
A life long friend of my boys, was a young man starting his first day on the job at Henry Pratt and was an HR intern sitting in, on the termination of the shooter!
Each and every one of us have had a ‘First Day’ on the job, his should have never ended this way ?
He was one of the victims! He was going to be 22 on April 22nd, on what would have been his golden birthday!
His name was Trevor Wehner!
He and his brother Thomas were like sons to me and every other parent in our community! He was big brother to many, many boys in our tight knit community Including my boys and was a great role model!
He loved his family, his beautiful girl Winter Lane and life, always wore a smile and his legacy will live on forever!!!
I want HIS name and picture shared not that of a cold calculated killer!! Our little town of Sheridan is rocked to its very core!
Pray for his Dad Tom Wehner, Mom . Bonnie, the boys and family!!!
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Let’s share and make Trevor the focus!!
A friend wrote, “Trevor Wehner was a good man and an amazing friend. NIU and the local gaming community will never be the same without him. He is sorely missed.”
Russell Beyer was from Yorkville, Illinois. He was a mold operator at Henry Pratt. A relative wrote, “Please pray for the families. My cousin Russell Beyer was one of the five killed. My heart is breaking for my family.”
According to Moms Demand Action, “Russell Beyer, 47, was a mold operator at Henry Pratt and worked for the company for over 20 years in various capacities. The father of two was also the union chairman, a job he took over after his father retired after 40 years with Henry Pratt.”
A GoFundMe page to help Beyer’s family reads, “Russell ‘Russ’ Beyer went to work on February 15th at Henry Pratt in Aurora Illinois and did not return home to his family. He leaves behind two children, his parents, brother, sister and many other loving family members. He was shot and murdered, along with 4 other coworkers, after terminating another employees employment with the company. Russ had helped him keep his job on several occasions but was unable to do so again. Russ was a very vocal and proud union man and he regularly represented his fellow union workers. We are seeking assistance for his children and burial costs. Russ will be remembered as a hard working and happy man known to always have a smile on his face.”