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 More than 30 friends of shooting victim Courtney Taylor gathered Friday evening at the crime scene, to pray and to honor the 31-year-old father of five small children.

Taylor, 31, died Wednesday night in the Jack-in-the-Box parking lot along Rainier Avenue South.  He lived in West Seattle but would return to the neighborhood where he grew up, and hang out with old friends, said his wife, Marquita.

“Him being out here, this is where he grew up, and this is where his family was,” she said. “But he didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t deserve to get killed. It’s sad that we’re at a point where you just think, they think it’s OK to just go and take somebody’s life.  They didn’t just take my husband, they took a father. I have to go look in our babies’ eyes…  and tell them that their dad is never gonna come back.”

Several ministers showed up, as well as Lt. John Hayes of the Seattle Police Department, alongside a small memorial of flowers and candles. Two of Taylor’s young children were shown the spot where he died.

Taylor was finishing vocational studies, wanted to become an electrician, and recently worked framing new houses in Lacey, his wife said.  About two weeks ago, Taylor and a friend stood at the pulpit and talked about the struggles of turning their lives around, said Zachary Bruce Sr., pastor at Freedom Church in West Seattle., which strives to reduce youth violence.   “This young man was one of the most loving, most respectful persons I ever met,” Bruce said.

Taylor’s wife objected to news reports and Facebook comments that dwell on Taylor’s past, by calling him “no angel” and mentioning a criminal record.  Taylor had been attending church the past year and was making “all the right moves,” the ministers said.

Any donations to assist the family may be made to Freedom Church of Seattle, 206-937-1417.