WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Friends and family members gathered Wednesday evening to remember Julius Sampson Jr., a father of three shot and killed outside BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse in Winston-Salem.
Loved ones brought candles and flowers to the parking lot where Sampson was killed Tuesday afternoon. Winston-Salem police said Sampson and another man, Robert Granato, began arguing inside the restaurant.
Police say the argument continued outside and Granato shot at Sampson.
"It's beyond heartbreaking," Shakira Lake said. "It's a hard pill to swallow."
Lake worked with Sampson, who was known as "Juice" at a barbershop inside Hanes Mall. She said he had an easy sense of humor and enjoyed making co-workers laugh.
“I went in the barbershop and tried to push through it but I got sick knowing that man will never walk through that door again. His wife has to deal with that, knowing she will never have her husband again. How do you tell your kids, 'your father isn't coming home anymore?'" Lake said.
Arnita Miles organized the vigil for friends and family in the BJ's parking lot. She said Sampson gave back to his community, donating and giving his time.
“He gave free haircuts to the kids whose mother’s didn’t have money,” Miles said.
A family member told FOX8 Sampson would be missed by many.
“One thing I want them to know about Julius, Julius was a great father. He was a great husband, he was raised by a great man. He was taught to be a man, and he was a man, now we’ll never see him again,” he said.
At a news conference Wednesday, Chief Catrina Thompson said that officers are still investigating, but they don't believe the shooting was racially motivated.
Thompson said that during the argument, a racial epithet was used, but the shooting has not been classified a hate crime.
Granato was charged with first-degree murder and carrying a concealed gun after consuming alcohol.
“The court system does their job like they're supposed to, that man should never see the light of day again,” Lake said.
Garanto is being held in the Forsyth County Jail without bond.