JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Homicide detectives are investigating a stabbing that took the life of a 42-year-old Illinois man early Sunday morning inside the Fionn MacCool's Irish Restaurant and Pub at the Jacksonville Landing.
Investigators arrested Matthew Hinson, 28, of Jacksonville. He was booked into the Duval County jail on a murder charge and was ordered held without bail.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, father and husband William Christopher Pettry, of Lake Vella, Ill., was in town to attend the Jaguars game against the Chicago Bears when he became involved in some type of disturbance with two other people inside the pub.
During the altercation, Pettry was stabbed. Police said he died of his injuries.
Police said Hinson (booking photo, right) was detained at the scene and later arrested in connection with the killing. They have not provided details of what led to the fatal stabbing, but scheduled an 11 a.m. Monday news conference to discuss this case and two other recent homicides.
At a first appearance in court Monday morning, a judge ordered Hinson was ordered held without bail pending his arraignment on Oct. 30.
Channel 4 wasn't able to get in to contact with any of Pettry's family or friends in Illinois, but his wife, Karen Pettry, posted her husband's photo (below) and a message on her Facebook page. She wrote, in part: "I'm so numb and I still cannot believe it is true. [My husband] was taken from his family way too early. Some idiot has taken his life. I'm so mad, just don't understand why, very lost right now. Please hug the ones you love because you never know if tomorrow you will have that chance."
Channel 4's Vic Micolucci spoke with a witness, who asked to remain unidentified, and said she was at the bar early Sunday morning when Pettry was killed. She said her friends, who are nurses, stepped in to help, but were not able to help him in time.
"I didn't think he was going to make it by the way he looked," the witness said. "A person who was standing next to the victim said that he just turned around and all of the sudden there was just blood gushing from the victim's neck. So it seems like people didn't understand what was going on. It was really quick."
The stabbing was chilling for those who saw it, and it has also raised concerns for people in downtown Jacksonville.
"Yeah, it seems kind of alarming. It seems like a peaceful area," said Garrett Hayman, a Bears fan.
Bears fans descended on the Landing after the game and said even though police did make an arrest, some were having second thoughts about their safety and whether or not they'd come back to the River City.
"It makes me feel a little more skeptical next time, yeah, I would be," said Thomas Kientzle, a Bears fan.
Michael Chambliss, director of marketing for the Jacksonville Landing released a statement Sunday night that read, "The Jacksonville Landing and Fionn MacCool's would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the victim, William Pettry, from the incident last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. At this time, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation. Because of the ongoing investigation, all questions should be directed to the Sheriff's Office."
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