A man sent his wife a text message telling her that he loved her during a mass shooting at a manufacturing warehouse outside Chicago on the day after Valentine’s Day. “I love you, I’ve been shot at work,” Josh Pinkard said in the message to Terra Pinkard.
She wrote about the message and her efforts to find her husband in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. Josh Pinkard was among the five victims killed in Aurora, Illinois.
The gunman, 45-year-old Gary Martin, also died during the shooting, authorities said. He started shooting after he was fired from his job at the Henry Pratt Co., according to police.
Josh Pinkard was the company’s plant manager. His wife couldn’t believe his message that he had been shot.
“It took me several times reading it for it to hit me that it was for real,” Terra Pinkard said. “I called his phone several times, text, FaceTime, nothing.”
She called the plant. A woman answered, saying she was “barricaded in her room and police were everywhere,” Pinkard said.
“My heart dropped,” Terra said.
She put her children in a car and drove to the plant, where a police officer blocking the road couldn’t give her any information.
“I drove to the nearest hospital. He wasn’t there,” Terra said. “I drove to the second nearest hospital. Not there.”
Later, the police department gathered victims’ families. Pinkard heard her husband’s name read among the fatalities, and then she went to pick up her children.
“With my pastors help, since family was still on planes to get to us, I told my children their dad did not make it and is in heaven with Jesus,” Pinkard said. “I’ve never had to do something that hard.”
Pinkard called her husband the smartest person she’s ever met and her 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,'” Pinkard said. “The man who was dying and found the clarity of mind for just a second to send me one last text to let me know he would always love me. This unbelievable person was robbed from us.”