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Plant manager killed in Aurora shooting was ‘faithful servant of the Lord’

Josh Pinkard | Facebook photo

Josh Pinkard | Facebook photo

Josh Pinkard had moved from Alabama with his wife and three kids last spring to work as a plant manager at Henry Pratt in Aurora.

On Friday, he was one of five employees of the company to be killed by a disgruntled co-worker in a mass shooting at the west suburban plant.

Pinkard, 37, of Oswego was in a meeting where the company told Gary Martin he was being fired. Police said Martin began shooting with a .40-caliber handgun he had brought with him, killing Pinkard and three co-workers who were in the room. Martin fatally shot a fifth employee soon after, before wounding another and five police officers who responded to the scene.

Pinkard had worked for 13 years at Mueller Water Products, the parent company of Henry Pratt, according to his LinkedIn profile. He worked at a company plant in Albertville, Alabama before starting work at the Aurora plant in April.

Pinkard grew up in Holly Pond, Alabama, a town of about 800, according to his Facebook page. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Mississippi State University and a master’s in operations management last year from the University of Arkansas, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“We will mourn in the days ahead. We will cry and hold each other a little tighter when saying goodbye,” his cousin, Amy Pinkard Hayes, wrote on Facebook after the attack.

Pinkard’s aunt, Kathy Howard, asked for prayers for his family, according to Facebook post by Hopewell Baptist Church in Hanceville, Alabama.

A friend from Mississippi State wrote that Pinkard was a model Christian.

“When we were in college, Josh was someone who I strived to be more like,” Allen Lancaster wrote. “He was a faithful servant of the Lord … He inspired me to be a better Christian.

“I know Josh didn’t wake up yesterday morning thinking that in any way it was going to be his last day,” Lancaster wrote. “But I also know that he was as prepared as one could be, from a Christian perspective, for it to be his last day.”

Reached Saturday afternoon, Pinkard’s wife declined to be interviewed.