A local soldier was among the 13 Americans killed Thursday in the shooting spree at Ft. Hood Army base in Texas.
Private first class Michael Pearson, 21, of Bolingbrook was reportedly shot three times -- in the spine and the chest -- when a gunman entered the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center and opened fire with two handguns.
Surgeons worked desperately to save Pearson, even bringing him back to life twice on the operating table, but he had lost too much blood and died around 10 p.m., according to a Chicago Breaking News report.
Pearson joined the Army more than a year ago looking to make a change, and they trained him to deactivate bombs.
"He was working for a furniture company and felt like he wasn't going anywhere," his mother Sheryll Pearson told Chicago Breaking News. "He felt he was in a rut. He wanted to travel, see the world. He also wanted an opportunity to serve the country."
His parents said their son had gotten his inoculation shots two days earlier and didn't think he was likely to have been in the readiness processing center Thursday afternoon when the first shots were fired.
They were at another son's house when an Army sergeant called to say Michael had been wounded and was in critical condition.
The killing was the worst mass shooting in history at a U.S. Army base. The shooter was shot but survived and is in custody.
The Army has not yet released a complete list of all who were killed or wounded.
UPDATE The AP's report on Pfc. Pearson:
Pfc. Michael Pearson
Pearson, 21, of the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, Ill., quit what he figured was a dead-end furniture company job to join the military about a year ago.
Pearson's mother, Sheryll Pearson, said the 2006 Bolingbrook High School graduate joined the military because he was eager to serve his country and broaden his horizons.
"He was the best son in the whole world," she said. "He was my best friend and I miss him."
His cousin, Mike Dostalek, showed reporters a poem Pearson wrote. "I look only to the future for wisdom. To rock back and forth in my wooden chair," the poem says.
At Pearson's family home Friday, a yellow ribbon was tied to a porch light and a sticker stamped with American flags on the front door read, "United we stand."
Neighbor Jessica Koerber, who was with Pearson's parents when they received word Thursday their son had died, described him as a man who clearly loved his family -- someone who enjoyed horsing around with his nieces and nephews, and other times playing his guitar.
"That family lost their gem," she told the AP. "He was a great kid, a great guy. ... Mikey was one of a kind."
Sheryll Pearson said she hadn't seen her son for a year because he had been training. She told the Tribune that when she last talked to him on the phone two days ago, they had discussed how he would come home for Christmas.