MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A beloved watermelon vendor has died two weeks after being shot in a northeast Memphis neighborhood during an attempted robbery.

A longtime friend said John Materna passed away Monday night after he was taken off life support.

“He has given this test a great fight to survive. It’s not in God’s will,” said Randall Linn.

John Materna, aka Red or the Watermelon Man

Materna, known by many as “Red” or the Watermelon Man, was selling watermelons at the corner of Homer Street and Wayne Avenue when he was shot on May 15. Materna had been selling his watermelons in Memphis for decades.

Memphis Police say he was robbed by two men seen getting out of a silver Infiniti with a paper tag that read “RETIRED.”

Suspects vehicle. Courtesy: MPD

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the same men robbed them.

Linn said Materna also had a gun, and he shot back.

“He (Red) shot back. Don’t know if he hit anybody going down or the car, but I know he was protecting himself as well as the other neighbor,” said Linn.

The family has set up a gofundme page to help his wife with any financial needs,

Police are still looking for the suspects. If you have any information that helps them find the men, call CrimeStoppers at (901)528-CASH.