Residents in Pine Valley are remembering a U.S. soldier shot and killed while serving in Jordan as a “big brother” to many and a “stand-up man.”
Army Spec. Adrian Perkins, 19, died Saturday in a non-combat-related shooting on a Jordanian military base, according to Pentagon officials. His death is under investigation by special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Adrian’s father, Aaron Throneberry-Perkins, said the teenager asked his mother and father to allow him to enlist when he was six months shy of his 18th birthday.
“He turned 18 while he was in boot camp but it was something he really wanted. There was no talking him out of it. Once his mind was set, it was set,” his father said.
Perkins joined the U.S. Army in August of 2012 shortly after he graduated from Mountain Empire High School.
Mountain Empire Principal Ken Edwards remembered Perkins as "a well-respected student and a good kid."
Grief counselors were scheduled to be on hand at the high school Tuesday even though Perkins was not a current student as he was known by so many of the students as a recent graduate.
The teenager played football and basketball among other sports but serving in the military was his passion.
“Adrian was one of those strong hearted. He wanted to protect everyone. He wanted to make sure we all kept our freedom," said friend Cody Nelson.
His father said Adrian was mature for his age and often told family members he wanted to be "the first one in."
Perkins was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado and had earned a number of service medals during his short military career.
He was in Amman, Jordan serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"He had confided in me that he was a little nervous for going overseas to where he was deployed and I told him 'You keep your head up kid. You keep your head up and use your training and you’ll be alright,'" Throneberry-Perkins told NBC 7.
"I guess apparently it wasn’t enough," he said.
Perkins was fatally injured in the shooting and died at King Hussein Hospital, Pentagon officials said.
The Department of Defense is investigating the shooting and will not release details until it completes that investigation.
A Facebook page has been created by Adrian's sister, asking people to keep her brother's memory alive.
Family friends like Michele Loop have posted signs around Pine Valley honoring the young man and his family.
“It was very heartbreaking because his mom has been through a lot and she didn’t deserve this,” said Lopo, a friend of Perkins’ mother.
After his military service, he planned to work for the San Diego County sheriff’s department in Pine Valley, she said.
“He wanted to be protector, just like a big brother would,” Lopo said.