PRINCEVILLE — One of the five victims of Friday's manufacturing plant shooting in Aurora was a native of Princeville.
Clayton Parks, 32, of Elgin, the human resources director at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, grew up in Princeville and graduated from Princeville High School in 2004. He attended Illinois Central College and was a graduate of Northern Illinois University, according to information on his LinkedIn page.
Parks worked in Peoria at Caterpillar, Inc. for six month in 2017 as a labor relations representative, and stayed with the company working in Aurora as a human relations consultant before taking the job at Pratt in November 2018. He was married to Abby Parks and they are the parents of a baby boy named Axel. Parks' mother lives in North Carolina.
Abby Parks left a poignant message on Facebook:
"Every time I’ve closed my eyes over the last twelve hours, I’ve opened them hoping to wake from a terrible dream, but that’s not the case. I’m living my worst nightmare. My husband, my love, my best friend, and the incredible father of our sweet son was taken from us yesterday in the shooting in Aurora, and I am devastated. Axel and I have been surrounded by friends and family and are appreciative of all of the prayers and support we are receiving. Beneath all the fog and the shock, and the crushing pain, I believe the same God that brought us together and gave us our precious son will somehow carry us through. I’ll love you always and miss you forever, Clay."
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood, who is also from Princeville, is a friend of the family's.
"I've known Clay since he was born. It's really heartbreaking," Harwood said Saturday afternoon. "The family was dealing with some serious health issues and to suddenly be faced with a tragedy like this is more than one family should have to bear."
According to news reports, a man who was being fired from his job shot and killed five people and injured several police officers before either killing himself of being killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. Parks was in the room where the termination meeting was taking place when the shooting began, according to reports.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.