Cops probing sneaker angle in Grayson teen's murder

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett County police confirmed Friday at least one arm of their investigation into the murder of 14-year-old Paul Sampleton Jr.

Sampleton, a Grayson High School freshman, was found shot to death inside his family's Haynescrest Drive townhome Wednesday afternoon. Discovered by his father at about 2:40 p.m., the body was restrained and lying on the kitchen floor.

Detectives have surmised that the teen was a victim of a robbery, but have not released specifics about the believed nature of that crime. On social media, friends and classmates of Sampleton have made their own speculations -- namely that he was killed over a pair of shoes.

Sampleton, a known sneakerhead, was apparently part of an online community known as Addicted to All Things Fresh -- a web forum were members can communicate and set up meetings to buy, sell or swap shoes, clothes and electronics.

"This community gives locals and out-of-towners the opportunity to do transactions in a safe environment and to discuss topics with those who like the same things," the group's website says.

Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said Friday that detectives were probing that angle but went no further.

"They are looking into it," Smith said, "but we're not calling it the motive in this case."

The Gwinnett County SWAT team served a search warrant at an address on Barnwell Drive near U.S. Highway 78, less than half a mile from Sampleton's home, on Friday afternoon but released few details. Smith declined to confirm or deny any connection with the Sampleton case.

"There were no significant incidents during this call," he said. "We will not issue any statements regarding the cause of this warrant at this time."

Viewing and memorial services for Sampleton will be held Thursday, Dec. 27, at Levett and Sons Funeral Home, located at 914 Scenic Highway in Lawrenceville. The viewing will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 6 p.m., when a memorial service is scheduled to begin.

Funeral services will be held the following afternoon in Macon.

An account has also been set up for donations to the Sampleton family. Those interested can make contributions to account No. 1079054548 at any Wells Fargo branch.