Just over 22,00 people call Randolph County home.
"We're all family here," said Roanoke Mayor Mike Fisher.
So imagine watching one of your own, Ladarious Phillips, grow up before your eyes. Watching him grow from a small child, to a father, to college student-- only to watch a gunman take his life taken away.
"It brings total shock to your community," said Fisher, who coached Phillips for Pee Wee football " He had his whole life in front of him just taken out with a gun."
In Roanoke, Phillips' hometown, everybody called the big young man with the big smile " Day-Day "
"Everybody loved Day-Day. He's come back from auburn go to the schools and work with those students. They looked up to him," said Handley High School principal Gregory Foster. Foster had known Phillips since he was 5th grader.
"Always a nice, hard working guy," said Foster
"You just saw that smile and you knew a kid like that was going to do good throughout his life," said Fisher
During his young life, family and friends says Day-Day was more than a star multi-sport athlete, but a solid student, too. We're told he was an even better person. A young man who died trying to break up a fight between his alleged killer and another man.
Just Day-Day being Day-Day.
" People say ' you're in the wrong place at the wrong time' , but personally, I think the guy who did the shooting was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Day-Day was where he wanted to be," said Foster.
Phillips' will be laid to rest Friday afternoon. His funeral held at 1 PM in the gymnasium of his alma mater, Handley High School. Visitation will be from 11-1.
" I just think it's fitting . He loved Handley high.and Handley high loved Day-Day," said Foster
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