RALEIGH (WTVD) --A north Raleigh McDonald's is holding a fundraiser for Kouren-Rodney Thomas, the 20-year-old who died after being shot outside a Raleigh home. The homeowner, Chad Copley, is charged with murder.
The McDonald's at 6213 Falls of Neuse is holding the benefit Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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Fifty percent of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the Thomas family according to the restaurant owner, Andy Martin.
Martin said it's in memory of one of his best employees.
"I said right after, because I had seen them a couple of days earlier, that I wish I had 10 employees just like him -- always smiling," Martin said.
He said the whole restaurant feels the impact of the loss.
"Working with Kouren was lively, he always had a joke for something," Royce Hunter said.
Royce Hunter, Kouren Thomas's former manager & friend, said he always loved to see Kouren's name on the schedule. pic.twitter.com/0LCqpY3uks— Stephanie Lopez (@LopezABC11) August 18, 2016
Hunter was Kouren's manager at McDonald's and friend. He said Kouren invited him to come along the night that he was shot, and still thinks about how things might've gone differently.
Danielle Harris met Kouren five years ago working at the McDonald's in Louisburg, and is a friend of the Thomas family.
"Even if he had a bad day, he would still make sure you were having a good day," she said.
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Harris said she feels grateful for the compassion of people like Martin, who she feels has gone above and beyond, and said that community efforts such as the benefit night are a reflection of Kouren's lighthearted nature.
"It makes us feel like he didn't just matter to us, but he mattered to other people," Harris said.
Martin is asking those who attend the fundraiser to wear pink in honor of Kouren's favorite color, and is encouraging anyone who knew Thomas to stop by.
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The suspect in this case is the son-in-law of reporter Greg Barnes. This was a shock to him and all of us at ABC11. We'll continue to give updates as we get them
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