David Hopson, principal of Grayson High School wrote a letter on the school's website Wednesday advising parents and students of the death of GHS freshman Paul Sampleton, Jr., 14.
"It is with great sadness that we write this letter to you. We learned today that one of our ninth- grade students was killed at his home after school. While this tragic incident did not occur at our school, we want to make sure you are aware of this loss so you can help your child through this challenging time," Hopson wrote, going on to say that the school would be open to students during the day Thursday and counselors would be available. "If your son/daughter needs to talk with someone about this situation, we hope he/she will come by the school tomorrow to avail themselves of the provided resources."
Sampleton's body was found by his father Wednesday afternoon in his Grayson home. According to police, the teen died as a result of a gunshot wound. It is believed he possibly walked in on a burglary. However, police said it also was possible that the teen was targeted. They are not releasing any further information at this time.
Police continued working in the home of the teen overnight and into the day Thursday. WSBTV reported that friends of the teen believe the murder could have been over shoes. Sampleton was reported to have an extensive shoe collection and frequented a Facebook site called ATATF - ADDICTED TO ALL THINGS FRESH. The site is a swap and sell high-priced items, including shoes. Police, however, are not commenting on that at all. The Gwinnett Daily Post reportedly obtained an incident report, but said little additional information was available except that Sampleton was found "on the floor of the kitchen just inside of the interior garage door," and that the teen possibly had been tied up or restrained.
In the meantime, friends and family of the teen are left to deal with such a senseless loss so close to Christmas.
Dealing with death is always trying for us, and it can be especially difficult for teens. We realize many of our students may have heard about this incident on the news or through conversations with friends. As you know, today was the last day of school prior to winter break. However, in light of the loss of one of our students, we have arranged to have counselors available at our school tomorrow in our media center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. If your son/daughter needs to talk with someone about this situation, we hope he/she will come by the school tomorrow to avail themselves of the provided resources.
We encourage you to be attentive to any concerns your child may experience. After our winter break, we will also have counselors and other trained professionals here at school to help our students cope with the loss of a classmate. Please contact the school when we return for the spring semester if you feel your child needs to talk with someone.
In closing, we want you to be aware of our school’s loss. As you know we are a very caring community. Our most sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family during this especially difficult time.
David Hopson Principal