Friends of the man killed Sunday in an apparent robbery gathered last night in Canton's Boling Park for a candlelight vigil.
and deceased at Sun Glo Car Wash on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Cartersville police believe he was the victim of a robbery.
"We are praying we find the person who killed him," said friend and classmate Casey Weaver. "He was kindhearted, would do anything for anyone, the sweetest guy with $1 million heart and an amazing smile."
Statler lived in Cartersville, but grew up in nearby Canton and was a 2002 graduate of Cherokee High School, according to Weaver and other friends. He "worked hard for a living" in construction and leaves behind a dog, according to Molly Childs, who now tends to Bear at a vet's office.
"R.J. was going to start work for me Monday morning. He had just quit his stressful job and was excited to work days with me again," commented Patch user Chris. "He was working nights in construction and would help me during the day some days! No sleep!
"Never met anyone with such [an] incredible work ethic. He had so, so much love for his dad and sister. R.J. would talk about them on a daily basis."
Statler had been employed as a superintendent with Leapley Construction, according to his Facebook page. He "liked" classic rock and heavy metal music, including the band Metallica; cartoons like Family Guy and funny movies; and camping and travelling.
"Tonight is my last project with my company no more superintendent for this guy start new job on Monday, just wanna say thanks to Leapley for everything they did for me over the past few years...," Statler posted on Dec. 11.
Police responding to the Sunday, Dec. 16, call about a man lying next to a truck in the car wash found Statler about 11 p.m. Authorities say he had been “mudding” earlier that day with family members and was at the car wash cleaning his pickup. He was apparently shot once.
Investigators had no suspects Monday. Check back with Canton-Sixes Patch for continuing updates.