In the moments after he suffered what would prove to be a fatal gunshot wound at the Henry Pratt Co. warehouse, Josh Pinkard, 37, of Oswego sent his wife, Terra, a final message by text.
“The man, who was dying ... found the clarity of mind for just a second to send me one last text to let me know he would always love me,” Terra Pinkard wrote on Facebook. “This unbelievable person was robbed from us.”
Josh and Terra Pinkard had moved to Oswego from Alabama with their three children last spring. Josh Pinkard was the plant manager and began working at the Aurora plant in April.
Terra Pinkard continued, “Every thought in my mind and everything I see reminds me of a precious memory of my husband. ... I want to shout from the rooftops about how amazing Josh was! He was brilliant! The smartest person I’ve ever met! My best friend! The man I would have leaned on during devastation like this who would tell me, ‘It’s OK, Terra, it is all going to be fine.’ ”
Wehner, 21, of Sheridan, was a student at Northern Illinois University and was working his first day Friday as an intern in Henry Pratt’s human resources department. He expected to graduate this spring from NIU with a degree in human resource management.
In a social media post, a neighbor of Wehner’s said his death has rocked the “our little town of Sheridan to its very core.”
The neighbor described Wehner as “a big brother to many, many boys in our tight-knit community, including my boys, and was a great role model. He loved his family ... and life, always wore a smile, and his legacy will live on forever.”
A visitation for Wehner will be from 2 p.m. until the 7 p.m. funeral service Wednesday at Gabel-Dunn Funeral Home, 333 W. Church St., Sheridan. Pastor Eric Hayes of the Christian Community Church in Aurora will officiate. After the services, visitors are invited to the Sheridan Fire Protection District to continue celebrating Wehner’s life.
NIU will host “Standing With Aurora: Honoring Our Huskies,” a vigil to honor Wehner and another victim, Clayton Parks, on Thursday in the Regency Room in the Holmes Student Center. The vigil will begin at 5:15 p.m.
Parks, 32, of Elgin, joined Pratt in November as a human resource manager for the firm’s plants in Aurora; Hammond, Indiana; and Denver. A 2014 graduate of NIU’s school of business, Parks was husband to Abby Parks and father to an infant son.
In a social media post Saturday, Abby Parks said she feels like she is 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.”
Since Friday, Parks said she has been surrounded by friends and family and is appreciative of all of the prayers and support they are receiving. She added, “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.”
Beyer, 47, of Yorkville, was a mold operator and union chairman at Pratt. He had been employed at the plant for 20 years. Beyer leaves behind his two children, his parents, a brother, a sister and other family members.
A family friend posted on social media, “The Henry Pratt shooter today in Aurora took away a great man that I’ve known since I was a little kid. A guy who was funny and kind and goofy. A guy I always, always had to give a hug to when I saw him at family get-togethers. A guy that when I saw him at Walmart, I would jump on his back like a piggyback to scare him when he wasn’t looking.”
Friends of the Beyer family have established a GoFundMe page to help support his two children and to pay for burial expenses.
Juarez, 54, of Oswego, lived with his wife, Leticia Juarez; sons, Adrian Juarez and Christian Juarez; daughter, Diana Juarez; and eight grandchildren. He had been a forklift operator at the plant for the past 15 years.
Juarez’s family and friends have asked for privacy in the wake of Vicente’s death “as we grasp the reality of [Friday’s] horrendous acts.”
Those looking to support the family in this time can do so through a GoFundMe page set up by a family member, “Juarez Family Assistance.”
Ariana Castro, a friend of the family, extended thanks Sunday to those who have donated to the page.
“Words cannot describe the love and appreciation we feel for this community,” Castro wrote. “The support has been tremendous. Thank you!”