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Atlanta-area freshman football player murdered, allegedly over his sneaker connection

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The start of the holiday break was plunged into tragedy in suburban Atlanta when a freshman football player was shot dead in his own home, allegedly over his high end sneaker collection.

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As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a handful of other Georgia sources, Grayson (Ga.) High freshman football player Paul Sampleton Jr. was shot dead by home intruders after returning home from school after completing his last final exam of the semester.

While authorities have been hesitant to commit to the intruders’ motives, Sampleton Jr.’s friends have pointed to Sampleton’s shoes collection as a likely motive for his death.

“He did love his shoes,” fellow Grayson freshman Abiodun Anifowoshe told the Journal-Constitution. “The new Jordans and Nikes that came out, Paul was always the first to get them.

“It’s just hard to believe it’s Paul. He just loved coming to school, smiling and telling jokes, and making people laugh.”

Sampleton’s tragic death was preceded by a remarkably normal day at school for the teenager. According to Anifowoshe, Sampleton was listening to music and talking to other friends in the moments after his sixth period final ended. Hours later he was found dead by his father, who discovered him tied up in the family kitchen, left to die.

“I was shocked,” Manny Perez, a friend of Paul’s, told The AJC. “We’ve had some people die here, but it’s been car wrecks. Never someone purposely kill somebody.”

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