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Fired Illinois factory gunman killed victims with gun he owned illegally: police

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The gunman who killed five fellow workers at an Illinois factory had just been fired, and the plant manager and a human resources official were among his victims, authorities said on Saturday.

Gary Martin, 45, armed himself with a .40 caliber handgun, which he owned illegally, before reporting for a meeting where he was told he was fired, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman told a news conference.

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Most of the workers killed in the shooting on Friday at the Henry Pratt Company plant, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, were in the room where Martin was terminated, Ziman said. Five police officers were wounded by gunfire before Martin was killed in a shootout with police.

Martin had bought the weapon, a Smith & Wesson handgun with a laser sight, in 2014 before authorities realized he had a prior felony conviction, Ziman said.

“The fact remains that some disgruntled person walked in and had access to a firearm that he shouldn’t have had access to,” Ziman said at the news conference.

Investigators were seeking to determine why Martin was not forced to relinquish his gun before the shooting, Ziman said. He should have been barred from owning a handgun because he had a 1995 conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi, she said, and he also had at least seven prior arrests in Illinois.

The bloodshed marked the latest spasm of gun violence in a nation where mass shootings have become almost commonplace, and came a day after the one-year anniversary of the massacre of 17 people by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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Among those killed in the Aurora workplace shooting were Josh Pinkard, the plant manager, and Clayton Parks, the human resources manager, Aurora police said.

The other victims were identified as Trevor Wehner, a human resources intern, Russell Beyer, a mold operator, and Vicente Juarez, a stock room attendant and fork lift operator. Police did not give the ages of the victims.

Another employee at the plant, whose name was not released, was wounded in the shooting and treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries, police said.

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At least two of the wounded police officers remained hospitalized on Saturday in stable condition, Ziman said.

A sixth officer was injured in the incident, but not by gunfire, police said.

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The factory-warehouse plant employs about 200 workers and occupies 29,000 square feet in a working-class district of Aurora, the second-largest city in Illinois.


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‘This is not about tweets!’ GOP lawmaker deflects wildly when asked about Trump’s attacks on Yovanovitch

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Friday was not happy to be asked about President Donald Trump's tweets attacking former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

During a press conference that occurred after the day's impeachment hearings, Stefanik tried to make the case that nothing in Yovanovitch's testimony provided any reason to impeach the president.

She was thrown off her game, however, when a reporter asked her whether the president's tweet harmed her party's ability to send a consistent message.

"We're not here to talk about tweets but impeachable offenses!" she angrily replied. "Let me answer your question. These hearings are not about tweets. They are about impeachment of the president of United States. This is a constitutional matter."

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Republican Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) was not pleased that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) got the last word at the second public impeachment hearing on Friday.

During his closing remarks, Schiff said Trump had engaged in "an effort to coerce, condition or bribe a foreign country into doing [his] dirty work."

"The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery. Doesn’t make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it was unsuccessful. And to that we owe other dedicated public servants who blew the whistle. Had they not blown the whistle we wouldn’t be here and I think it is appalling that my colleagues continue to want to out this whistleblower so that he or she can be punished by this president," Schiff said.

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‘I’m sorry — is there a question there?’ Yovanovitch snaps back at Jim Jordan’s jumbled posturing

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As questioning of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch resumed on the second day of the House's public hearing in their impeachment inquiry, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to suggest that there was a culture of anti-Trump sentiment amongst elements of the Ukrainian government and its US envoys.

Jordan then questioned Yovanovitch as to why she didn't try to intervene to make the environment less politicized.

"One of the things we've heard so much over the last six weeks in depositions, and frankly in the hearing on Wednesday, is how important bipartisan support is for Ukraine," Jordan said addressing Yovanovitch. "Democrats and Republicans agree they want to help Ukraine, in fact, [Ambassador Bill Taylor] said, 'Ukraine's most strategic asset is this bipartisan support...'"

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