AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The man who was found dead on Kissingbower Road Monday morning was identified as 51-year-old James Tuck, Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen said.
Tuck, who was homeless, was found near D & M Stop & Shop on Kissingbower Road near Gordon Highway. Deputies responded to the area around 7 a.m. Tuck was pronounced dead at 7:45 a.m.
Ray Baker was close friends with Tuck, and said his death should serve as an eye-opener to Augusta residents.
"He was sitting right [at church Sunday]. I was sitting next to him," Baker said. "We were drinking coffee, we were laughing, we were joking, and now I'm going to go to church tomorrow night and and tell the pastor and his wife and the congregation that Tuck's dead."
Baker and other friends in the area are still in shock that someone they saw just 12 hours before is now gone.
"He was getting his life together," Baker said. "He had been through some storms, he had been through the desert and he was coming out. And he had people that was supporting him."
Baker said Tuck was working as a freelance mechanic to help make life better for him and his family.
"That's all he talked about was his son, and how much he wanted to be the father that he needed to be and wanted to be to his son," Baker said.
Baker said this should be an eye-opener to Augusta residents, and a call for people to try and help the homeless instead of turning a blind eye.
"When a homeless person is put in our path, God puts that person in our path for a reason," Baker said. "You have something that you can give them or you have something that you can share with them that will comfort them and give them the strength and the courage that they need to move forward to be a better person."
Tuck's death has been ruled suspicious due to how his body was positioned, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. His body is being sent to the GBI lab for an autopsy.