For the first time, one of the men caught in the middle of the deadly road rage shooting on I-10 is telling his side of the story.
He describes the night 42-year-old Timothy Pinckard was shot and killed on Sunday, November 5th. The shooter hasn't been charged or identified. Mobile Police say it appears he acted in self-defense.
We spoke with the man who was in the car with the victim's son that night. He describes it as a tragic end to road rage. He didn't want to show his face or use his name, so we have protected his identity, and the identity of his friend, the victim's son. This is his first-hand account.
"The man (shooter) was coming after me and [name], and I'm sure his dad didn't want to see his son get hurt...I just wish it could have gone a different way than that."
He watched his best friend's dad take a bullet, sitting in the passenger's seat of a car pulled over on I-10. In our exclusive interview, the friend speaks highly of Timothy Pinckard, a man he says, was just protecting his son that night.
"He was always a very happy person, he was a very good guy, he's got a great group of friends, he was always there for everybody, he would always help everybody out."
A witness took a picture that shows the seconds after Pinckard was shot. It also shows the intense moment the shooter allegedly forced Pinckard's son to the ground at gunpoint, after he tried to help his dad.
It's a tragic end to road rage, that started miles away, just fifteen minutes before.
A simple errand turned into a nightmare. He and Pinckard's son were making a quick cigarette run at a gas station in Tillman's Corner. He says before pulling out a gun on I-10, the shooter pulled out in front of them on Highway 90. Then the shooter stopped in the middle of the road and got out of his car.
"And then [name] slams on his brakes and blows the horn at him, and told him to learn how to drive...he said, 'what did you say little punk?' And that's when he jumped out..he walked up to the vehicle and started punching [name] in the face, yelling at him to get out of the vehicle. Dude punched him a couple more times, and then got back in his vehicle and drove off."
As he called the police, he says, Pinckard's son, who was driving, called his dad, then started to follow his alleged attacker.
"I was trying to get the cops to know, where he was, I was seeing if they would like, come to him as we were on the phone with them so we could do assault charges."
He recalls the pursuit lasting about fifteen minutes. The shooter got off and on the interstate near Tillman's Corner a couple times.
We asked why Pinckard's son and his friend kept following the shooter.
"Because I didn't want him to get away with what he did to [name]."
But everything came to a halt near the Riviere Du Chien overpass. He says at that point, Pinckard, who was still on the phone with his son, caught up to the two cars on I-10. He told his son to box the shooter in.
"So [name] goes around the shooter's car and starts slowing down, and that's when Timothy catches up to us and at the time we all three get over."
He says when the cars stopped...the tables turned. The shooter got out of his car with a gun and headed straight for them. Pinckard, then got out of his truck, also with a gun, and pointed it at the shooter, stopping him.
"Then [name] jumps out and says 'Dad, that's him!' Then that's when Tim jumped out and said 'stop that's my son you're going after!' The dude turns around and takes a quick glance at Tim, and just draws his gun, and fires three times and one bullet hit him below the heart."
Still on the phone with police as bullets flew, he was now too terrified to get out of the car.
"I yelled shots fired about 6 times...once I saw the gun, and heard the shots I feared for my life because that man had just shot one person and was very capable of shooting me or my friend as well."
From the car, he heard the shooter yelling at Pinckard's son to get on the ground. That's the moment a witness passing by snapped a picture. When the shooter walked away, the friend says that's when he and Pinckard's son ran to help Pinckard, who was laying inside his truck with a bullet in his chest.
"We was just sitting there, freaking out, crying on top of his dad, trying to make sure he was ok, begging for him not to die on him."
Pinckard was rushed to the hospital but died on the way there. His son, stayed at the scene to be questioned by police.
"He says all he wants is for his dad to look like a hero because that's what he is."
But a grand jury will now decide whose protection was justified. Was the shooter defending himself, or was a father defending his son? The friend, sees it one way, knowing what kind of person Pinckard was. The shooter, he says, had different intentions.
"That man had intent to kill, and he had intent to kill all three of us, I believe."
He admits, things could have been handled differently but doesn't regret trying to get justice for his friend.
"We were in the wrong for following but he was also in the wrong before, for assaulting [name]. To get out of the vehicle on a highway, and assault somebody, is very uncalled for."
Our Alexa Knowles asked if he thought he made any mistakes, or if he felt any guilt.
"Yea, I would have ran him over...I mean I wish the whole situation could have been avoided, and I wish I could go back and never even take that route...not stopped at the gas station, not make that u-turn, and just go straight home."
Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste told us last week that he thought Pinckard's son shouldn't have taken matters into his own hands, suggesting there is an element of self-defense. Battiste also told us there is no video of the events leading up to the shooting. We have asked businesses in that area for surveillance video, but haven't been able to find any.
FOX10 News has also asked for the 9-1-1 calls, and we're told there are seventeen of them related to the shooting, one of them from the friend we just interviewed. We are working to get those transcripts.
Investigators say the shooter could still face charges related to the alleged assault in Tillman's Corner. In the meantime, the case has been sent to a grand jury.
Pinckard was laid to rest on Friday. All content © 2017, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.