COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The 32-year-old man shot and killed near River Drive early Tuesday morning was getting ready to ask his girlfriend to marry him, family members confirmed.
Timothy Peter Gentry was killed around 1 a.m. at the corner of Beaufort Street and River Drive on Tuesday. The cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the upper body, according to the Richland County Coroner's Office.
The father of Gentry's girlfriend says Gentry was getting ready to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage when the shooting occurred.
"I couldn't think of a better individual to marry my daughter," the father said.
Gentry, the father said, worked with people who have disabilities and was going to school to be a teacher.
Dozens posted tributes for the young man on his Facebook Wednesday.
Long time family friend Daniel Rummel says every kind word is true. He's been friends with the Gentry family since before Tim was born, and he's watched him grow up.
"He was such wonderful kid. Just... always had a smile, just always outgoing and carefree. Everyone who knew him considered him the kindest person they knew, the most loving person. Anyone who knew him felt like they were a friend to him immediately," said Rummel.
Rummel, a hospital chaplain, was just one day away from an all night on call shift when Gentry was brought in.
"We have a room where we write all the trauma numbers for the patients that come in, so I looked up the patient that came in at 1 o'clock and it was him. My heart sank. I was in shock," said Rummel.
Friends say he was taken too soon, but now their hope is that his light continues to shine as it did in life.
"We also just remember his wonderful presence that he brought everywhere he went. He simplified the two greatest commandments Jesus gave. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor," said Rummel.
Those who knew him said he chose his River Drive home, near where he was shot, because he wanted to spread God's love through that neighborhood.
Gentry's funeral will be held at Clemson Presbyterian Church in Clemson Saturday, afternoon at 2 p.m.
Police have not released details in the case, but Wednesday investigators say people in the area say they saw a thin, dark skinned black man with braids or dreadlocks running through the area shortly after they heard gunshots.