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'That really threw me for a loop': Coaches, family react to Macon teen's shooting death

Joe Woolfolk will best be remembered for the passion he showed in athletic competition.

MACON, Ga. — Family and friends that knew 17-year-old Joe Woolfolk describe him as most passionate when he was competing on the football field and basketball court. The teen won't compete again after he was killed Thursday night. 

On Thursday, Bibb County deputies responded to a person shot call on Winston Drive to find Woolfolk dead and another teen, Jieyre Chavis-Moore, with a gunshot wound to the leg.

"When I found out he was gone, that really threw me for a loop. I've got eight grandkids and he was my first one," said Joe Woolfork, Woolfolk's grandfather.

Woolfork remembered his grandson's childhood as one filled with competition. He began taking Woolfolk to his dad's games at Southwest as a baby. He quickly grew into quite an athlete himself.

"He grew up and got adapted to playing sports -- football and basketball. You know, I mean, that was his passion," Woolfork said.

Woolfolk began his high school career at Rutland High before he spent two years at Windsor Academy, scoring touchdowns and baskets for the Knights.

His former football coach, Jimmy Watts, said his competitive spirit was inspiring.

"He had tons of potential. He was a good football player, really good basketball player, did well in track. He was a competitor, wanted the ball in his hands and attacked the day every time he was on the field or court," Watts said.

Woolfork said he tried to steer his grandson away from the trouble that plagued him in life, one that involved some violence and drugs. He said his grandson wasn't involved in anything like that to his knowledge. Watts said despite coaches' best efforts, not every kid overcomes the cards they're dealt.

"I think life is full of choices and a lot of times teenagers don't make the correct choices always," Watts said. "Our job as coaches and educators is to direct them down right paths, but in the end, these kids have to decide which path they're gonna take, and sometimes it doesn't turn out very well."

Chavis-Moore, the teen found with Woolfolk, was found to be involved in his death and has been charged with murder. He's being held at the Macon Regional Youth Detention Center and is being charged as an adult. 

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