Chicago players have united to help the family of 42-year-old Chris Pettry, a Bears fan who was stabbed to death at an Irish bar last weekend outside of a bar in Jacksonville, Fla., where his team was playing the Jaguars.
The Bears wee struck by this tragedy and decided to do something to help. Tight end Kellen Davis and his agent, Wayne Jett, have organized a fund-raiser Saturday night to raise money for the family. Other players have donated money.
Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall spoke with Pettry’s wife, Karen.
“She was concerned about not having a job,” Marshall said in the Chicago Sun-Times. “I told her to take her time and get through this. Use the people around her. Use us to breathe and take the time she needs and be there for children.”
The community and the Bears have shown an outpouring of support to the widow and her children, which is surprising to the family. But they are grateful for thoughts, monetary donations and prayers.
“It’s been very stressful for us, but I can’t thank everyone enough for helping my family. I can’t believe it,” Karen Pettry, who has three young children, said.
She was a stay-at-home mother, and so her future is uncertain after her husband’s death.
“Family life is so precious and to think that a life was taken like that, it’s just not right,” Bears fullback Jason McKie said. “We want to help the family out any way we can. I mean, who is going to help this family take care of their bills now that the main provider is gone? And to leave a wife like that with children, it’s tragic. Bears players, past and present, want to show our support.
“I mean, my son played in the same park district football league as Mr. Pettry’s son. They are from Lake Villa; we are from Gurnee (Ill.). It’s basically right up the road. The goal is to show support and raise some money for this family in a timely manner.”
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Karen said. “My kids don’t have a daddy, and I don’t have a husband anymore.”
Jacksonville resident Matthew Hinson, 28, was arrested for the murder of Pettry and was later charged with felony murder.
The murder of Pettry has really hit Chris’ 6-year old daughter Jessica the most. She has not been able to understand the reality of the situation, asking her mother “How come daddy isn’t coming home?”
Lovie Smith, Bear head coach, opened the Monday press conference by expressing his condolences to the Pettry family.
“Like we talked last week, our fans were outstanding,” Smith said. “As I said (Sunday), from the hotel and of course throughout the game, we had a lot of people who came down to support us. Chris Pettry was one of them, one of our loyal supporters that was killed as he came to Jacksonville to support his favorite team. So our prayers definitely go out to his family.”