Live Oak —
The weekend shooting death of 49-year-old Charles David Napier has left the community in shock and disbelief as it remembers the popular Atlantis Salon hairdresser.
Napier’s mother, whom he recently returned to Suwannee County to help care for, found him dead in their 127th Place home Sunday evening. Napier had been shot nine times, according to Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron.
The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office arrested 16-year-old Anthony Michael Ortiz for the murder of Napier. According to Cameron, Ortiz has been charged with first degree murder and armed robbery.
“It still seems so unreal to all of us,” said April Truluck of Atlantis Salon. “There have been many calls of concern for the family and people are just so shocked at what happened.”
Truluck’s sister, Penny Boyd, is also in disbelief over the brutal murder that claimed the life of their friend and coworker. Boyd’s reaction to the arrest of Ortiz echoes the thoughts and emotions of countless people throughout the community in the midst of the tragedy.
“Thank God the killer is caught,” Boyd stated. “Now we can at least know and not have to wonder.”
Although an arrest has been made, memories of Napier linger in Atlantis Salon. Boyd realizes her longtime friend will never return to work.
“We sure miss him,” Boyd said. “His chair is still pumped up high like he always kept it.”
According to Boyd, she and Napier have worked together off and on since the 90s. She warmly reminisced of the days when she and her late stepfather, Gary Locke, enjoyed a morning cup of coffee with Napier each day.
“We hope he’s having coffee with Gary every morning up there,” Boyd added with a smile.
According to Tami Daughtry, who also works at Atlantis Salon, Napier was happiest when he was doing hair and drinking coffee from Java Jax.
Nick Register of Java Jax stated that Napier was one of the customers they enjoyed seeing because he was always so upbeat.
“He was one of those customers that I always looked forward to seeing,” Register said. “He would come through the drive-thru and I would always make a point to go speak to him.”
The death of Napier seemed impossible to Register as well.
“He’s one of the last people that I would have thought something like this would happen to,” Register somberly said.
Reactions throughout the community remained somber. Suwannee County resident Casey Smith said this is a terrible thing that has happened in our community.
“My thoughts go out to the family,” Smith added.
According to Truluck, Napier came back to Suwannee County to help his mother.
“He loved his mother very much,” Truluck emphasized. “David was very selfless and caring and did a lot for special needs kids. He loved working with children and would take up time with them.”
Candyce Vickers of Suwannee High School was saddened by the death of Napier as well.
“He was such a compassionate person,” Vickers stated. “He often helped prepare our special needs kids for proms, pageants and other events.”
Vickers said Napier has been preparing her student’s hair for over 10 years.
Boyd recalled how she and Napier both enjoyed working to loud music during the 90s. Although she now prefers to work in a quiet environment, she emphasized with laughter how Napier never lost the joy of listening to his loud music.
“He especially enjoyed listening to his brother’s band. He would follow them wherever they played,” Truluck said of Napier’s love for music.
According to coworker Carol Weatherington, Napier was simply a joy to work with.
“When things got quiet at work, he would crack a joke,” Daughtry warmly recalled. According to Daughtry and Truluck, Napier was the jokester of the salon, but he remained helpful to his colleagues and never lost the passion for his work.
“He never lost his passion for doing hair,” Daughtry stated. “He was just as passionate the last day that he worked as he was on the first day.”
According to Truluck, Napier always strived to ensure there were no hard feelings with others at work. She explained that anytime there was a misunderstanding, he would always right any wrong and leave work on good terms with everyone.
“I considered David very loyal, which is a hard trait for many to acquire,” Truluck said.