STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Under the window sill on a pair of tables in Will Henry’s Tavern in Gwinnett County is a makeshift memorial. There are red roses, candles, and a photo of 39-year-old Jerome Johnson.
The small memorial was created by the tavern's employees. Customers have been adding to it since it was first erected Tuesday.
"It's been a very tough time for the whole Will Henry's family," daytime manager JB said Wednesday. He worked with Johnson, who was the night manager of the tavern.
Johnson was killed in what Gwinnett County Police described as a road rage incident that took place Monday night. Authorities said 27-year-old Jonnathan Bladimir Hernandez is in custody and faces charges of felony murder and aggravated assault in connection with the incident.
"I mean, like, why? Why is this senseless thing happening to this community?" the manager asked.
Customers added cards, flowers, and stuffed bears to the memorial. As more people filed in the doors since the tavern's opening at 11 a.m., people would come in and talk about how much Johnson meant to them.
"He was the light of this place at night, you know," John "AJ" Hall said.
Johnson was serving as a manager at Will Henry's Tavern for the past eight months. Hall said he has seen Johnson earlier in the week at the tavern's holiday party. He described Johnson as quiet, but friendly and willing to help anyone who may have been in need.
"He always checked on you. I mean, even with some of the older women who would come in, he always walked him up to the car," Johnson said.
A balloon release to honor Johnson is scheduled to take place in the parking lot of Will Henry's Tavern at 8 p.m. Wednesday.