Aurora Marks 4th Anniversary of Henry Pratt Shooting With Somber Memorial Service – NBC Chicago

City officials, victims’ families and community members gathered Wednesday to mark the fourth anniversary of the Henry Pratt workplace shooting in suburban Aurora, which left five individuals dead.

“I don’t want families to continue to go through what I’m going through. Four years later, the pain is still there,” said Diana Juarez, the daughter of victim Vicente Juarez.

Her life and countless others were changed forever when a disgruntled worker opened fire, taking the lives of five employees following a termination meeting, on Feb. 15, 2019. Five officers were also injured before the shooter was killed by police.

“I just feel like I’m still dreaming, like I’m drowning. I want this to not be real,” said Juarez.

Juarez, Russell Beyer, Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard, and Trevor Wehner were all killed. Crosses bearing their names are once again on display at Aurora’s Historical Society.

“It’s still a struggle,” said Tom Wehner, Trevor’s father. “There are days I’m driving, I just cry because my son’s gone.”

During a remembrance ceremony, Aurora’s mayor said that day changed his city forever.

“The city of lights became Aurora Strong, which has become more than a mantra, but a way of life that has become interwoven in the very fabric of our great city,” said Richard Irvin. “We owe this to Russell, Clayton, Vicente, Josh and Trevor to ensure the ultimate price they paid was not in vain. Aurora remembers this day and we will forever.”

During the ceremony, former, longtime Pratt employee, Anita Lewis reflected on the tragedy and the colleagues she loved.

“It was instantly turned into a place of heartache, pain and scars,” said Lewis. “So, here we are four years later, still surrounded by all this pain.”

“I miss them all immensely. I also miss the fellowship of the entire Henry Pratt family,” she said of the now-shuttered factory.”I’ll never forget Russ. I’ll never forget the way he was always joking. The way he cared so much about everybody else, and all the pictures of his dog he loved so much,” she said.

“Josh, who I called the preacher. He had a southern drawl and he would always stop in my office, no matter how busy, just to say ‘how ya’ll doing?'”

“Clay, he was another person with an infectious smile, always wanting to make everybody feel better,” said Lewis.

The somber anniversary comes the same week of yet another mass shooting, this time on a college campus. During the ceremony, Aurora’s congressional representatives vowed to keep their fight for gun control top of mind.

“We cannot wait for the next tragedy. We must continue to pursue common sense gun safety measures that will keep guns out of the wrong hands and help save lives,” said Rep. Bill Foster of the 11th district.

“In Congress, I will continue treating gun violence like the public health crisis it is, so our children can live in a country where gun violence is no longer common place,” said Rep. Lauren Underwood who serves the 14th district.

The crosses and memorabilia will be on display at the Aurora Historical Society through Saturday. Aurora’s mayor says a bench in memory of the victims will be moved from the Tanner House museum to a public space later this year, to “permanently and publicly mark this moment in history.”

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