Framed photos of Nicholas Degros sat low on a table covered with tea lights and white lace Tuesday night during a vigil for the slain Beaufort man.
For a moment, rain whipped balloons and white roses outside his fiancè's home on the corner of Washington and Wilmington streets, where he was killed Friday night.
Degros' mother, a tiny woman in a knit cap, smiled and blew a kiss toward one of his pictures, remembering the son that used to grab her in great bear hugs just to make her laugh.
"That's my baby," Margaret Negron said. "We will forever in our hearts love you, always."
About 40 people attended the memorial Tuesday, standing with the 30-year-old man's fiancè, Amanda Allen, and their five children. No arrest has been made in the deadly shooting, and the Beaufort Police Department has refused to answer questions about its investigation.
Soon after officers were called to Washington Street after shots were fired about 8 p.m. Friday, they found a woman yelling for help and tending to Degros, who had been shot. A family friend, Brandy Grundahl, said that woman was Allen, who had been with Degros for about two years and planned to marry him in October.
The 30-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family and friends said they had faith the police were doing what they can, though it was difficult to wait for answers.
"He never did anything. He never said anything against anybody," Delores Jenkins, a relative, said. "He's going to be sadly missed."
Friends of Degros spoke of his kindness, describing a Teddy bear of a man, an artist and a jokester.
One handwritten card next to his photographs had pictures of four Sesame Street characters. It was not from one of his young children, but from Grundahl.
Degros had once joked he and Grundahl's boyfriend were like Bert and Ernie, while the two women were Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus: Best friends. The nicknames stuck.
"She loved him," said Heather Brownfield, another close friend, of Allen.
"He loved her," Grundahl said.
Later, she spoke as if she was addressing Degros, who she said brought out a spark and energy she had never seen in Allen before.
"Thank you for blessing and coming into her life," Grundahl said through tears. "You were taken too soon."
After lighting candles in Dixie cups, the gathering stood on the Beaufort lawn in a moment of silence.
The lone sound came from Degros' mother, who quietly asked her grandchildren to tell her stories she could take back home to Brooklyn, N.Y.
After the group extinguished their candles, Negron spoke once more, this time her voice breaking.
"They took away my baby, so we've got to get justice."
A funeral service will be held Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory. The family suggested that donations be made to Allen through the funeral home.
Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.
- No new details in fatal Beaufort shooting, January 12, 2015