Three men died and another man, Joshua Holbrook, was released from Marietta's WellStar Kennestone Hospital on Monday. On Thursday, members of the fifth shooting victim spoke at a news conference at the hospital where 35-year-old Zachariah Werner remains in critical condition.
"Everyday, five times a day...," Mike Werner told reporters of how often he asks why his son was shot.
"Why? He was so strong in his faith. He loves God - you know what my answer to that is, God is not done with my son because he's still here. It's for a reason. We all are strong believers. It's for a reason. This will do good, I guarantee it will do good."
Mike Werner and his 22-year-old son, Mikie Werner, appeared at the news conference. Mike Werner spoke for several minutes from prepared notes. Afterwards he and his son answered questions from the media. The two men became emotional at times as they spoke about Zachariah Werner.
His father would only say of his son's current condition that he "is very critical, but stable."
"We're taking it one day at a time," said Mike Werner. But, he said he is sure that his son will make it through.
Reading remarks made by Zachariah Werner's wife, Jodi Werner, Mike Werner thanked their Northwest Church family, the Acworth Warriors youth football team Zachariah Werner coached, the Penske company, Kennestone Hospital and family and friends who have supported them. Relatives from Toledo and Charlotte, N.C., have been helping to care for Zachariah and Jody Werner's three children.
"Also thanks to everyone out there that we don't know, who continue praying for Zach's recovery," Mike Werner stated. "We appreciate that more than you will ever know."
Mike Werner received the phone call that no parent wants to get as he was preparing to leave work for home in Toledo, Ohio, he recalled. He said Zachariah Werner's wife, Jodi, called him.
"She could hardly talk and instantly I knew something was wrong. She said Zach has been shot," said Mike Werner. "My first reaction was, 'What the hell?'"
He said he then got in his car, called his wife and flew into Atlanta and was there by 8 p.m. "I was just in a daze," he said.
Zachariah Werner worked at Penske as a mechanic for three years, his family said. He and his wife were high school sweethearts who moved to the Atlanta area from Ohio in 2003. Mike Werner described his son as a great father and said his children miss him.
While here, Mike Werner said he has learned a lot about his son's life in Cobb that he didn't realize before. Only now has he learned the extent to which his son is admired by the Acworth Warrior football team, which he spent a lot of time with.
Two months ago, Mikie Werner said he moved in with his brother's family and was warmly received. He described him as, "energetic, fun, nice and loved people."
Three victims, Van Springer, 59, Jaider Felipe Marulanda, 43, and Roberto Gonzalez, 31, died of their injuries. Marulanda was the only victim who did not work for Penske.
Cobb police described accused gunman Jessie James Warren, 60, as a "disgruntled" former Penske employee who entered the parking lot of the facility around 1:30 p.m. and opened fire on several people, killing the three men and critically injuring two others. He remains his custody.
When asked what he thought about Warren, Mike Werner said he was trying his best not to think negatively.
"I've had some negative thoughts about the person who did this, but I'm trying to not have those thoughts because at this time I want those thoughts to be with my son and everybody else involved in this to get through it," said Mike Werner.
"His day will come."
Northwest Baptist Church and the city of Kennesaw have established a fund to aid the family of Zachariah Werner. The fund will be administered by the church. Contributions can be made at either of the NorthWest Bank and Trust locations, at 3891 Cobb Parkway in Acworth or 250 Church St. in Marietta, or at Kennesaw City Hall, 2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave. Checks should be made payable to the Zach Werner Family.