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Gwinnett QuikTrip shooting victim described by friends as 'leader guiding people in the right direction'

Bradley Coleman was just 29 years old when police say attackers killed him trying to carjack the former football player.

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. — Bunches of flowers and a few notes sit underneath the air pump at a Quik Trip on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners. One employee knelt down at the pump, said a prayer, touched the pump and went back to work. Several drivers stopped by and filled their tires with air as normal. It's a stark contrast to what happened around 12:30 Sunday afternoon. 

Police said Bradley Coleman was trying to put air in his tires when someone tried to carjack him at the gas station. Police found Coleman, 29, dead near the car at the air pumping station. Investigators are still searching for those responsible and said the suspects were last seen driving south on Peachtree Parkway. 

Shahid Mitchell, who played football with Coleman when the two attended Norcross High School, said he lost a friend, mentor and teammate. 

"He was a leader guiding people in the right direction," Mitchell said. "He was funny, energetic and just motivational. Anything you wanted to do, he’d believe in you and push you to get there. He wouldn’t just let you say you want to be this. He’d make you that person.”

RELATED: Victim in deadly Gwinnett QuikTrip carjacking attempt identified | What we know

Mitchell and Coleman both played wide receiver while at Norcross. The two went their separate ways, with Coleman graduating in 2011 and attending Southern University in Louisiana. Mitchell would graduate from Norcross two years later. Coleman later returned to Georgia for a while, coaching basketball and football at Mountain View High School and Peachtree Ridge High School.

Ryan Lesniak, the current athletic director at Peachtree Ridge, worked with Coleman when he was a coach at the school. He noted Coleman's ability to connect with students and build relationships. Lesniak said Coleman once substituted for a teacher on maternity leave and left a positive impact on those he taught.

"He was just always happy, always smiling, always dapping people up and hugging them, full of energy, full of life," Lesniak said. “Kids had a great respect for him, his positivity, his energy for life and for kids, wanting to give back and wanting to be part of who they were not just on the court or the field – but also as young men.”

Coleman eventually returned to Louisiana and started a fashion brand Pascher. Mitchell said his friend used the brand to reach young people, and he even helped young athletes score name, image and likeness deals through the brand. Coleman also leaves behind a young daughter, and as of Monday evening, friends have raised more than $40,000 for her future.

"It was just tough because she was here to spend time with her dad, and she was taken away from her dad like that," Mitchell said. "You feel like 'what if I was there to help him? What if I was there to make a difference?' When you’re here, all those emotions come to you and it’s tough to deal with.”

Gwinnett County Police ask anyone with information about the three people involved in Coleman's attack to call them at 770-513-5300. 

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