GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Friends of a Grants Man who was killed last week want to remember the way he lived his life; as a loving, loyal, and caring friend, close enough to be considered a family member.
37-year-old Joshua "Hippie" Wright was shot and killed on Friday by 68-year-old Steve Daniel Cox, according to investigators. The officer who arrested Cox said that the man shot Wright "with the intent to kill," and made no attempt to get him medical attention after firing the fatal shot.
But according to those who knew and loved Wright, he and Cox knew one another — even considered themselves friends.
"That night he was actually with me and the people in our household . . . and we were hanging out for a while and then he was going over to get his stuff," said Wendy Ford, a friend of Wright's.
Ford told NewsWatch 12 that she'd known Cox for a few years, but Wright was more like a brother.
"He left and then we got a phone call like 30 minutes later . . . that he had been shot and that he was dead," said Ford. According to her, others who had been around Cox prior to the shooting knew that he had been drunk.
Wright's friends said they didn't expect Cox to be violent to this degree, but there were signs that the two men had been arguing with one another lately, and that Cox was particularly angry.
"I want to ask him 'why,' what would drive him to do something like that? He took somebody from us for no reason because he was drunk, because he was mad, I don't know but Hippie didn't deserve that," said Ford.
Sarah Ames says that she and Wright were once engaged to be married. Now, she and her children — who referred to Wright as "Uncle Josh" — are just trying to make sense of what happened.
"I didn't expect this, I don't understand how somebody can do that to a friend," said Ames. "My 2-year-old doesn't really understand. My 4-year-old — he's funny. I was crying and he told me that it's okay, because Uncle Josh is with Great Grandma."
Ames and Ford describe their fallen friend as man who had never met a stranger, the kind of person who immediately made other people feel more comfortable and more important.
"Hippie was such a loyal person I don't understand it," said Ames. "I still don't wanna believe it."
Family and friends plan on holding a celebration of life for Wright at the Fruitdale Grange on Friday, February 7 at 5 p.m. Everyone is invited, the event is a potluck and anyone can come by to share some of their favorite memories of Wright.