Shortly before leaving on a flight from Milwaukee on Friday to attend the Bears game in Jacksonville Fla., William Christopher Pettry posted "GO BEARS!" on his Facebook page, said his cousin Quincy Asbury Jr.
From reading the posting, Asbury knew how excited Pettry was to be making the trip with his best friend. Pettry was an avid Bears fan who was often too busy working at his construction and remodeling company and helping his wife raise their three children to take the time to go to games in Chicago.
Pettry, 42, of Lake Villa would never make the game because he was fatally stabbed early Sunday morning inside a restaurant where he was eating and drinking with a group of other Bears fans, Asbury said.
"He was such a huge Bears fan ... He never got to go to the Bears game, he never got to enjoy it," said Asbury, who can't understand how anyone would hurt him. "He was always the guy that made you laugh."
Pettry was stabbed at Fionn MacCools, 2 W. Independent Dr., an upscale Irish restaurant about a block from the hotel where he was staying, which also happened to be where the Bears team was also lodged.
Asbury, a River Grove police officer, said he spoke with Pettry's best friend after the stabbing and said he still doesn't understand what happened.
He said that the friend told him he was with a large group of other Bears fans enjoying the evening. He said near the end he went to go to the bathroom and promised to return with a round of drinks.
Instead he stepped out to an outdoor patio, and the friend told him a waitress came back to tell Pettry's friend that Pettry was hurt.
"They didn't know what to tell him. They told him your friend isn't feeling well, he went up to the front and he (Pettry) was on the floor and it was over," said Asbury."I'm still at a loss as to how he goes from the washroom to get another round to ... he never made it back."
According to a press release from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, police said they were called to the scene at 1:43 a.m.
Police have charged Matthew Hinson, 28, of Jacksonville with homicide in the slaying, police said.
Police said in a press release that Pettry was involved in a "disturbance" with two other individuals at the restaurant in Jacksonville Landing, a downtown shopping/dining/entertainment venue. Hinson was arrested after the incident and charged Sunday evening.
On her Facebook page, Pettry's wife Karen said that she was shocked by the news and is scrambling for answers.
"I'm so numb and I still can not believe it is true," wrote Karen Pettry. "Today my husband William Christopher Pettry (Most of you only know him by Chris) was taken from his family way too early."
"Some idiot has taken his life. Im so mad, just don't understand why, very lost right now," she wrote. "Please hug the ones you love because you never know if tomorrow you will have that chance."
The stabbing occurred near a hotel where the Chicago Bears were staying before their game this afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This happened in a very fun part of Jax. Mandy, Abi, and I have been there plenty of times, and Mandy's favorite resturant in Jax is right next door to here. My heart goes out to his family.