Victor Joseph’s friends are struggling to believe it was really his body found Friday on a West Palm Beach sidewalk.
They don’t understand why anyone would shoot their loyal “Tae,” a 22-year-old with an infectious laugh.
“I don’t even know why a person would have beef with him,” said Joseph’s friend, 23-year-old Clishay Stewart. “I don’t even know why he was in West Palm Beach.”
Joseph was living in North Lauderdale, records show, and working at a Popeyes near Miami, Stewart said. He messaged Stewart on Friday evening to see if she wanted to meet up in Lake Worth. She couldn’t, she said. She was going to a movie in Royal Palm Beach.
West Palm Beach police found Joseph’s body at about 11 p.m. Friday in the 400 block of Eighth Street near Dixie Highway. More than 12 hours later, they hadn’t identified the man, a sergeant said.
As of Wednesday, police had not released any suspect information or a potential motive in Joseph’s killing, the ninth of 10 reported homicides in the city since January.
“I (saw) so much good in him,” said Joseph’s longtime friend Rosa Purifory. “This feels so unfair.”
News about Joseph’s killing spread Sunday on Facebook. That’s how Stewart found out about the death of her friend of nearly eight years.
“I just don’t believe it,” Stewart said Tuesday. Joseph’s Facebook page is flooded with messages of similar disbelief.
He was fiercely loyal to his friends, and quickly became like a brother to Stewart.
“He was the only guy who could come to my house and lay in the bed with me and my momma wouldn’t think nothing of it,” Stewart said with a laugh.
His first priority, though, was his two little girls, according to Purifory.
He’d been making up for lost time with his daughters since he got out of prison in February after nearly two years behind bars for his role in a 2016 Boynton Beach carjacking.
His co-defendant, who records indicate was the main aggressor, is serving a 13-year sentence in the case.
Purifory and Stewart said their goofy friend was quick to smile and to offer help.
“How can somebody so sweet and so special be here one minute and then gone?” Stewart said.