Candles, pictures and flowers mark a makeshift memorial near John Hayes' South College Street home, a memorial in this south Thomasville neighborhood where many call Hayes a friend.
Antwan Smith, a friend, said, "We didn't get to spend that much time with him, but the time we did, it was fun. We'll miss him."
Thomasville High School's principal says Hayes attended the school for a short time during the 2002-2003 school year, and while Thomasville police investigators say Hayes was arrested for robbery in 2003, friends say since that incident he was heading in the right direction.
Neighbor Joe'l Dean said, "He had got out of jail and he was doing his thing out at the 'tech,' so he was doing good with himself, so for all that to happen, it's real sad."
Godsister Kenyetta Madison added, "He was a good guy, everybody liked him, even the old people. If everybody was sad, he'd make you happy. He'd do anything to make you laugh."
Dean also said, "Everybody liked him around here. He was a good dude."
John Hayes' mother said services for her son will be this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the St. Thomas AME Church in Thomasville.