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Gunman kills five at an Illinois plant where he worked

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Blacks committed 17 of 107 mass shootings between 1982 and November 2018; whites committed 60 of 107 mass shootings during the same period

By Frederick H. Lowe

BlackmansStreet.Today

Gary Martin, who went on a rampage Friday, killing five of his former co-workers, had been depressed about losing his job of 15 years at a factory in Aurora, Illinois, his sister said.

“He was very depressed,” Tameka Martin told The New York Times. At a dinner a few nights ago at their mother’s home, her brother could barely speak because he expected to be fired from his job, she said.

Martin, 45, worked as a large valve assembler for Henry Pratt Co. in  Aurora, 40 miles west of Chicago.

On  Friday, he was summoned to a meeting with representatives of the company’s Human Resources department, where he was told he was being fired. Martin pulled a gun and shot to death five people. Martin shot three people in the meeting and two others inside the cavernous plant. He also wounded five police officers and six others before police killed him.

Workplace homicides account for 10 percent of the nation’s occupational injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, the latest statistics available, 66 people were killed by co-workers.

Between 1982 and November 2018, blacks committed 17 of the 107 mass shootings. Sixty of the 107 mass shootings during that period were committed by whites, according to Statista, The Statistics Portal. The remaining 30mass shootings were committed by Hispanics (10), Asians (8), Other (5), Unknown (4) and Native Americans (3).

Martin was fired for a “culmination of various workplace rules violations,” said Sean Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, a Henry Pratt subsidiary.  Hall did not offer details about the violations.

Job loss causes depression and anxiety because of a lack of money. For black men, it can be even worse because the unemployment rate is much higher for us compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Martin had a concealed carry permit for a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol with a laser sight since 2014, although a 1995 felony assault conviction in Mississippi disqualified him from carrying a gun.  While applying for the permit, the earlier conviction didn’t surface, Aurora police said.

Neighbors who lived in an apartment complex with Martin described him as a quiet person who mostly  kept to himself and flew drones. But one white woman described him as  creepy although he never said or did anything to her.

 

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