GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) – Loved ones even strangers paid their respects at Midland Valley High School to a life taken too soon. Many say Nathaniel or Nate Johnson had a promising future and it’s a shame what happened.
“Long, live Nate,” said Nati’s friend, Matthew Grandy, at his vigil on Monday.
Nate is no longer with us but the 14-year-old’s memory is being kept alive in the CSRA. Nate was a smart and funny kid according to many of his friends and family. He was living with his grandmother who said he would eat just about anything.
Nate was about to start his freshman year at Midland Valley High.
His friend Michael Weathers said, “He knew a lot probably more than me honestly. He paid attention in school, kept his grades up.”
“Every time my boy Mike had a birthday he would come over. We would just play football, have a good time. He was an all-around good kid,” said Grandy.
One of Nate’s favorite things to do was to spend time outside.
Weathers explained, “He liked being outdoors. He was always calling me over like, ‘Hey, come hang out with me.'”
Investigators say Nate was shot on August 14 by 30-year-old Larry Mackie Jr.
Mackie is also being accused of shooting another man in the same Graniteville incident and of shooting a clerk at the Family Dollar in Wrens. The alleged two-state shooter is in jail at the Aiken County Detention Center.
“I thought it was a joke because there’s no way that my friend Nate had just passed. It broke me but I didn’t cry. There’s a lot of rumors going around but only a few people know what really happened and most of the community is mourning,” said Grandy.
During the student-organized vigil, Nate’s grandmother thanked everyone for their support.
As the balloons were released, some tears flowed.
Nate used to go to the Aiken County school where Pamela Grandy works. She knew Nate well and is helping her son cope with the loss of a friend.
She said, “My son (Matthew) said, ‘I’m good mom. He was a Christian and I know where he’s at.’ And that helped him a lot and it helped me that my son’s preaching to me that he feels good because he knows that Nate was a Christian.”
Matthew Grandy added Monday was a tough, first day back to school but Nate will never be forgotten.