GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A family is overcome with grief and a feeling of emptiness after their loved one lost his life in a Waffle House parking lot in Greensboro on Tuesday morning.
Tony Ray Battle, 37, was a cook at the restaurant chain, and was in the parking lot of the Waffle House on Randleman Road when shots were fired.
"You took away a rock from a family," Quintina Marley said. She and Tony have a daughter together.
Tony leaves behind a twin sister, a young daughter and all the people who loved his food.
When 12-year-old Ta'Niya Battle remembers her dad, she thinks of a man who pushed he toward her goals, always had her back, and never, ever let her down.
"If I ever eased off the right track, he would always ask me who's better than me? And I would say, 'Nobody,'" Ta'Niya said.
But she won't get to hear those words from her dad again.
"No one should have to go through burying a loved one behind a gun, simple as that," said Tina Battle, Tony's twin sister.
Now, Ta'Niya will have to go through the big milestones in her life without her dad, including her 13th birthday this Friday.
"Her middle school graduation. High school graduation," Marley said. "College graduation. Wedding, children."
"It's going to be kind of hard not to get that call or message to wish me another happy birthday," Ta'Niya said. "But as long a I got everyone else in my family, I think I'm going to make it."
Tony's family says he left a mark on people all over Greensboro.
"He said that he cooked for the city," Ta'Niya said.
He worked at the Waffle House on High Point Road. Cooking was his favorite, and cooking for Ta'Niya was her favorite.
"I felt special," she said.
"This wasn't a man who was out here doing crazy stuff and a knucklehead, this was a man," Marley said. "This was a real man that loved his family."
It's through that family that his memory will stay alive.
"He had just the one Ta'Niya," Tina said. "He passed his greatness on to her. He's definitely going to live on."
Tony's family is holding a vigil in his memory Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Waffle House on Randleman Road. Everyone is invited to attend.
Police arrested a suspect in Tony's death Tuesday morniong. Demauri Jamice Wellington, 23, is charged with first-degree murder.