ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Police want to track down the men who killed James Jake Ponder Saturday night in LaGrange. The 24-year-old father of two was shot in his car after he offered two strangers a ride on Troup Street.
"He was trying to do a favor and lost his life. That's just tragic. He was somebody's son, somebody's father and he didn't deserve this," said Alisha green, said LaGrange resident who was one of Ponder's tattoo clients.
According to Lagrange Police Detective Sgt. William Nelson, Ponder was with a friend on Troup Street around 8:30 p.m. when two strangers asked him for a ride. The man who asked for the ride set in the backseat and Ponder, for some reason, pulled over a block later where he was fatally shot.
Sergeant Nelson told FOX 5's Portia Bruner a friend who was riding with Ponder Saturday night did not get a good look at the men who shot Ponder.
Police have not released the friend's name for safety reasons, but insist he has been cooperative with police since he rushed Ponder to the hospital Saturday night.
Jake Ponder had a 2-year-old daughter, a 7-month-old son and a young soulmate named Layla. She was too distraught to talk to Ruler on camera, but did describe Jake as an "amazing father and the first and only love of my life of her life."
"My heart aches at the thought of burying the love of my life, the father of my two kids, my best friend, and my first love. He was my safe place no matter what we went through. I never imagined my life without him," Layla said in a statement to FOX 5 News.
Alisha Greene told Bruner she hopes someone will come forward for the sake of the heartbroken Ponder family.
"I know folks are afraid to tell and be considered a snitch, but you could be saving somebody's life in this case and keeping someone else from getting hurt, or at least just offer his mother some closure. She deserves that," said Greene.