Initial background check on Aurora attacker didn’t turn up assault conviction

The Shetland Business Park where the shooting took place.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
The Shetland Business Park where the shooting took place.

Police say the fired worker who killed five people at a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, was able to buy the gun he used because an initial background check didn’t catch that he had a prior felony conviction in Mississippi.

Aurora police Chief Kristin Ziman said Saturday that Gary Martin was issued a firearm owner’s identification card in January of 2014 after he passed the initial background check.

She says he bought the Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun on March 11, 2014, and that his 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi wasn’t flagged until he applied for a concealed carry permit five days later. That application process includes vetting using a more rigorous digital fingerprinting system.


Authorities say Martin fatally shot five Henry Pratt Co. workers and wounded a sixth and five police officers on Friday before officers killed him.