Aurora Strong: City Officials Say Community is 'Shaken But Not Broken' - NBC Chicago

Aurora Strong: City Officials Say Community is 'Shaken But Not Broken'

“We have rekindled the light and will continue to shine brighter and stronger than ever,” said Aurora Mayor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Aurora Police Chief Recounts Emotional Story

    The Aurora police chief tells us her dramatic story regarding the mass shooting, first responders, and emotional visits with the families of the victims. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019)

    “THESE are the times that try men’s souls,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said, quoting Thomas Paine in his opening remarks at Tuesday's press conference.

    “We have been tried and tested….shaken but not broken,” he said.

    Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin, Police Chief Kristen Ziman, Fire Chief Gary Krienitz, alongside a representative of American Red Cross were among those scheduled to attend the press conference at City Hall Tuesday afternoon to give some of the latest updates on Friday's shooting.

    Now is the time to heal," Irvin continued. "Yes, we will heal. It may be a long and painful time but we will heal as long as we allow ourselves to lean on each other."

    The mayor alluded to the city's recent celebration of 162 years since the "city of lights" was incorporated—Aurora was one of the first cities in the US to implement an all-electric street lighting system.

    On Friday, the city went dark after officers responded to multiple calls of an active shooter around 1:28 p.m. at the Henry Pratt Company at 641 Archer Avenue, according to Aurora police. At least five officers were then wounded during an exchange of gunfire with the shooter, who was eventually shot and killed by police.

    Officials said they met with each of the families of the victims Monday to ensure they knew "Aurora is standing with them."

    American Red Cross Spokeswoman Holly Baker said many people are eager to help and in the coming days, they will coordinate with members of the community to further provide comfort and support, especially when it comes to mental and spiritual health.

    "Heroic and selfless actions were taken by both Aurora firefighters and police officers," said Fire Chief Gary Krienitz. "I am so proud of them."

    Krienitz reminded everyone to keep the victims' families in mind, to continue to pray and support them.

    "They say that you do not rise to the level of training and expectations, you fall to the training that you have had," said Police Chief Kristen Ziman. "We play like we practice and that is exactly what happened out there."

    She explained that one can never fully prepare for a moment as such; however, “the resilience that we had, the relentlessness that we had at that scene…there are no words to describe how we became one on that day,” she said.

    Earlier in the day, Chief Kristen Ziman said she would never again say the name of the gunman who shot and killed five people and wounded several others, including police officers, after being fired from an area company last week. 

    "I said his name one time for the media, and I will never let it cross my lips again," Ziman wrote in an emotional Facebook post, four days after the disgruntled employee first opened fire. 

    "It's been 96 hours since I heard the call go out over our radios and listened to the incident unfold," her message read. "I was on my way to the scene when I listened to the first officer advise he'd been shot. And then the next one. And then everything went dark around the edges. Every time an officer was hit, another went in. No one retreated."

    Several funerals are scheduled to take place this week as families say their final goodbyes to the loved ones they lost in the tragic incident.  

    A grandfather of eight, a father of three, a "gentle giant," a loving husband and a 21-year-old intern starting his first day on the job were among those killed. 

    "We learned right away that there were casualties and I can't tell you how hard it was to hear that we were too late to save them. Every officer will carry that heaviness with them. It becomes a part of them now," Ziman wrote. 

    Father, Grandfather Among 5 Victims of Illinois ShootingFather, Grandfather Among 5 Victims of Illinois Shooting

    A grandfather of eight, a father of three, a "gentle giant," a loving husband and a 21-year-old intern starting his first day on the job died when a gunman opened fire as he was being fired from his job at the Henry Pratt Company. 

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019)

    "This wasn't supposed to happen in our city. That evil soul shouldn't have taken others down because he was angry. He shouldn't have even had a weapon. Lives shouldn't have been stolen," Ziman wrote. "But it did. 96 hours ago, it happened."

    The shooting shook the western Chicago suburb. Hundreds have attended vigils for the victims in the days after. 

    Aurora Pizza Place Helps First RespondersAurora Pizza Place Helps First Responders

    An Aurora restaurant opened its doors to first responders int he aftermath of Friday's shooting.

    (Published Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019)

    Some funeral services have already been announced. Moreover, authorities at the press conference said more than $125,000 have already been raised as of Tuesday afternoon to help the families of the victims affected.

    "I know the strength and the resilience that we have in this city,” she expressed at the presser. “As much as we are hurting we are also healing.”

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