Community celebrates the life of Julius “Juice” Sampson Jr.

A horse-drawn carriage carrying Julius “Juice” Sampson Jr. makes its way down Trade Street earlier this week. Sampson’s funeral was held at Union Baptist Church.

Community celebrates the life of Julius “Juice” Sampson Jr.
August 15
01:15 2019

More than a thousand people filed into Union Baptist Church on Tuesday, Aug. 13 to celebrate the life of Julius “Juice” Sampson Jr., a local barber who was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Winston-Salem restaurant. 

Sampson, 32, who was a barber at Supreme Legacy Barbershop, was known throughout the community as a family man who cared about his community and would go the extra mile to lend a helping hand to those in need. A newlywed and father of three, Sampson was a graduate of North Forsyth and after high school he attended N.C. Central University. He was also a 2017 graduate of Winston-Salem Barber School.

In the days since his untimely passing, hundreds of people, including local and state elected officials, have reached out publicly and personally to send condolences to the Sampson family. 

“Tough day for our city for our bro family, for our community, need the strongest prayers to celebrate the great life of Julius “Juice” Sampson,” wrote Terrence Petree on Facebook. “We will have to hold each other up, we’re all hurting. We love you bro.”

Sampson fell victim to senseless gun violence on Tuesday, Aug. 6. According to police, around 4 p.m. officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) responded to a report of a disturbance at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, 192 Hanes Mall Circle. Before officers could arrive, the call was upgraded to a report of gunshots being fired and upon arrival, officers found Sampson unresponsive and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Emergency medical personnel pronounced Sampson dead at the scene.

Robert Granato, a 22-year-old white male, was arrested at the scene and is being held at the Forsyth County Detention Center with no bond.

It is believed that the altercation between Sampson and Granato began when Sampson defended a waitress or bartender who was being verbally abused by Granato inside the restaurant. After the verbal argument spilled outside, Granato pulled .22 caliber-handgun and fatally shot Sampson.

Sampson’s death near Hanes Mall marked the 15th murder in Winston-Salem this year. Within hours of the altercation, word began to spread that Granato is racist and that fueled the dispute with Sampson. Although racial epithets were used by both men during the altercation, and a photo has surfaced of Granato wearing a shirt the reads “Murica,” a term often used to imply extreme patriotism, during a press conference last week Chief Catrina Thompson said at this time there is no evidence to believe Sampson’s murder was motivated by race. 

On the day of the funeral, a line to get into the church started to form more than two hours before the service was scheduled to begin. Because there was no room in the sanctuary, many people were forced to watch the ceremony on a TV screen while standing in the front lobby of the church. Others waited outside for the funeral procession. “He cut my hair an hour before everything happened,” said one man while standing outside the church. “When I heard what happened I couldn’t believe it.” 

Following the service, hundreds of mourners all dressed in white gathered as Sampson’s family members and friends carried his casket to a horse-drawn carriage. Dozens of people lined the sidewalk along Trade Street taking photos as the carriage made its way down the street. 

In honor of Julius “Juice” Sampson Jr. the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity established a scholarship in his honor. To contribute to the scholarship fund visit Mechanics & Farmers Bank, 770 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and ask about the “Julius Sampson” account.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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