Visit to help distraught friend ends in death of 29-year-old Lake Worth native|
Troy Longhurst told his mom last week he was living his dream. He joined a boat club to become the captain that he wanted to be since he was 3. He was living near Miami, to make his "vision come true." And his band, Web, was making it.
He also had plans. He was going to celebrate his 30th birthday in August and maybe go to North Carolina. He was going to see the American Idol tour in Orlando last weekend with his friends, mom, and girlfriend.
And he really wanted to help out a friend. Jonathan Woolfson, 37, was "going through a difficult time," "acting erratically," and was "distraught," according to North Miami Beach police. Longhurst, who was known to family and friends as someone who could convince anyone of anything, went over to his house to calm him.
Longhurst's act of friendship ended abruptly the night of July 21. North Miami Beach police say the 29-year-old died from gunshot wounds, his body found in a pool of blood in Woolfson's home.
Joy Longhurst DeNicola said her son was at Woolfson's home two days earlier. He called her after leaving, saying he had "saved his life."
But it was different July 21.
"Jon's mother said he wasn't doing well. He was going to tell him to be good because we were going to be gone for five days. So he went to console a friend," she said.
Police say neighbors heard gunshots in Woolfson's townhouse in the 16400 block of Northeast 27th Avenue around 9:15 p.m. and called 911, the Miami Herald reported.
Police surrounded the house as Woolfson barricaded himself inside. Woolfson was shot and killed by police after a confrontation. He had said to them, "God told me to kill him."
"The person that Jonathan became was not who he was," Longhurst's good friend and band mate William Elmer Bachelor said. "And Troy thought he could help him through it."
Longhurst, a graduate of Santaluces High School, grew up on Akron Road in suburban Lake Worth. He went on to study video production at The Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale.
He moved to Sunny Isles Beach, where he lived with his girlfriend of about a year, Nicole Torres, and his 7-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Belou.
He worked for Motorola, designed some Kodak kiosks. He started a music label named Death Proof Records and a band with his friends.
"He far surpassed everything he wanted to accomplish," DeNicola said.
She said he may have gotten his passion for arts and music from her and his father, Douglas Longhurst.
"His father was very artistic. He drew art on cards and I did the verse," she said. "I'm more poetic."
What made him different, Bachelor said, was his drive. He wouldn't stop until he achieved his goals, and wanted to help everyone, so much so that his friends would sometimes refer to him as "Pastor Troy," he said.
"People could feel his energy. He had amazing energy," Bachelor said. "He still does."
Web was featured in the summer 2011 issue of a local arts and entertainment magazine, WEMERGE.com.
In what now seems a foreshadowing, the article started with Bachelor saying, "Don't kill yourself. Don't kill people." Bachelor told the magazine he says that at every one of his shows because it's something people need to be reminded of.
A funeral service will be 4 p.m. Saturday at Dorrsey-E. Earl Smith Memory Gardens Funeral Home at 3041 Kirk Road, in Lake Worth. Friends are invited to visit at 3 p.m. Memorial contributions are requested to www.sierraclub.org.
Longhurst will be cremated and his family and friends will spread his ashes in the Boynton Inlet.
Staff researcher Niels Heimreriks contributed to this story.
Published in The Palm Beach Post from July 28 to Oct. 28, 2011