Nearly 200 people braved Friday night's cold weather to remember a teenager who was murdered at his home in Grayson. Fourteen-year-old Paul Sampleton Jr. was shot to death, his father discovered his body.
Family, friends and football coaches paid their respects to Sampleton on the football field where he held so much promise.
"It's just terrible to see somebody our age die and his family going through all that," said classmate Sunny Tate.
"It's just hard on the entire community," said Sampleton's former coach Daniel Mahoney. "It's a bad situation and a terrible tragedy."
Friends signed Sampleton's football jerseys, helmets, and posters with his picture on them; Sampleton was an aspiring football star.
"He had the heart," said Mahoney.
Mourners lit candles to keep Sampleton's light aflame.
"Its just crazy to see someone this young can get killed and the impact it puts on everybody," said classmate Lauren Wilson.
Sampleton was found shot to death in his Grayson home on Wednesday. Police reports say he was bound and killed during an apparent robbery.
Sampleton's friends worry the shooting may have happened over an exchange for tennis shoes.
"A lot of the guys at our school do trade shoes," said Tate. "I'm not sure if that had an impact but it is probable."
Now the tight-knit community of football fraternity mourns the loss of a talented player in the middle of the Christmas season.
"To lose a loved one like this at this time of the year, then in the future when this time of year comes around, it brings it to you all over again and it makes it even more sad around the holidays," said Mahoney.
Gwinnett County police are still on the hunt for Sampleton's killer.
Another memorial for Sampleton happens next Thursday at Levetts in Gwinnett County, and his funeral is next Friday in Macon at Hosley Temple.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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