Bears players to hold fundraiser for slain fan's family

Updated 10/12/2012 5:34 AM
  • William Christopher Pettry, a Chicago Bears fan who was killed in a Jacksonville, Fla., bar in October 2012, is with his sister Veronica here.

    William Christopher Pettry, a Chicago Bears fan who was killed in a Jacksonville, Fla., bar in October 2012, is with his sister Veronica here. Courtesy of Veronica Pettry

  • William Pettry

    William Pettry

One week after a Lake Villa Township man was killed in a Jacksonville, Fla., bar while in town to watch the Bears play, some current and former players are hosting a fundraiser for his family.

Chicago Bears tight end Kellen Davis has initiated the Saturday night fundraiser for the family of William Christopher Pettry. Former Bears players Jason McKie and Tommie Harris are among those confirmed for the event.

John Barleycorn's Wrigleyville location, 3524 N. Clark St. in Chicago, will be the venue. The fundraiser will start at 5 p.m. and run until 9 p.m., said Barleycorn event coordinator Cassie Martin.

Veronica Pettry said her brother's family is grateful and overwhelmed by acts of kindness toward them since his death. She said the family will be at the fundraiser and they plan to enjoy meeting the Bears and celebrate Pettry's life.

"I know right now my brother is looking down from heaven saying, 'What is all the fuss about?'" said Veronica Pettry, 44, a former Chicago police sergeant.

Chris Pettry, 42, a married father of three children ages 5, 13 and 15, was fatally stabbed in a Jacksonville pub Oct. 7. The Jacksonville sheriff's office has charged Matthew Hinson with the murder. Authorities say Hinson slashed Pettry's throat with a pocket knife inside Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub and Restaurant about 12:30 a.m.

Hinson, 27, of Jacksonville, became "jealous" and "enraged" after seeing his wife talking to Pettry and sliced his throat while the two men sat on a bench inside the bar, authorities said.

Nick Viverito, 42, of Chicago said he and longtime friend Pettry had traveled to Jacksonville to watch last Sunday's Bears-Jaguars game. Viverito said he, Pettry and an older couple were at an outdoor table when Hinson's wife and a female friend asked to sit in two unoccupied chairs while waiting for Hinson. Viverito said there was only group conversation and they weren't hitting on the women.

Martin said there will be a $20 suggested donation for the fundraiser. Part of the evening will include a 50/50 raffle and a live auction of items contributed by linebacker Lance Briggs and wide receiver Devin Hester of the Bears, and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Kellen Davis said he wanted to show support for the Pettry family by setting up a donation page and pursuing Saturday's John Barleycorn event. Wayne Jett, of Crystal Lake-based Sideline Marketing Inc., got the ball rolling after he was contacted by Davis, who is his client.

"My heart goes out to the Pettry family that lost their loved one over a senseless act," Davis said.

Veronica Pettry said after the family grieved all week, they will be helped by the fundraiser with the Bears.

"The fact Kellen Davis, out of the goodness of his own heart, felt compelled to help our family is so amazing," she said.

Bears spokesman Scott Hagel said the organization's thoughts and prayers are with the Pettry family.

"We'll reach out directly to the family privately," Hagel said.

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