JaVaughn Smith, a barber by trade and an entertainer by heart, inspires others to pursue their dreams and knows how to make others smile, according to many friends wishing him well on his road to recovery.
Smith, 25, of Shawnee, remains hospitalized in Oklahoma City after being shot numerous times outside his home in the 1200 block of East Alice Monday night.
Shawnee police detectives continue to investigate the shooting; no arrests have been made.
Smith suffered gunshot wounds to his torso and face, with reports indicating he’s been in a medically induced coma following surgery.
As he recuperates, his friends, including many who were his classmates at Shawnee High School, are keeping in touch for updates on his condition.
Jamelle Payne, who was the SHS 2007 class president, called Smith the “class clown.”
“He was the entertainer of our class,” Payne said, recalling many fun high school memories that involved Smith.
Payne, speaking on behalf of many SHS classmates, said Smith is someone who always inspires others and loves to laugh and joke.
Although he works as a barber in Shawnee, he is also a rap artist known as J Sparxx.
“The guy can dance like nobody’s business,” added Kenneth Enoch, who has been friends with Smith since they were children.
Enoch said along with going to school together, the two of them grew up as neighbors.
“He’s been a good friend,” Enoch said, adding Smith is the type of person who doesn’t know strangers and is always there to help a friend.
And if he didn’t know someone in a room, he’d “walk up and shake your hand,” Enoch said, adding Smith is always smiling.
“His freckles light up when he smiles,” Enoch said.
Payne was able to visit with Smith’s family in the hospital earlier this week and many people also are sending him and his family well wishes through a Facebook page, “Prayer Group 4 J Sparxx.”
For both Payne and Enoch, seeing their friend go through this is difficult.
“Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,” Payne said.
Friend Lindsay Pringle said Smith has a way of inspiring and encouraging others.
“He's just a very encouraging young man who inspired probably all of us to chase our dreams,” she said. “He is just a one-of-a-kind person.”
She added that Smith is one of those people that can make friends with anyone.
Page 2 of 2 - And while he remains hospitalized from this ordeal, there’s still very little known about what happened.
Police have said that Smith was shot near his residence. At some point during whatever unfolded there, Smith apparently tried backing out of his driveway in his car.
When police arrived at the scene, they found him injured in his vehicle, which was in the ditch.
Police also are investigating a possible motive for the shooting as they search for suspects.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Shawnee police at 273-2121 or the anonymous Crimestoppers tip line, 273-0989.
A website also has been established to help raise funds for Smith’s medical bills: http://Www.gofundme.com/JSparxxfightson.