Vigil held for slain ODU student

WAVY/Jason Marks

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Old Dominion University community gathered for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to mourn one of their own. Sophomore Paul Johnson died Sunday after police said he was hit over the head.

“Tonight we are here to remember a dear friend and monarch of the ODU community, Paul Johnson,” said Ellen Neufeldt, Vice President of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services.

Photos: Vigil for Paul Johnson

Police said Johnson, 20, was killed in a brutal attack on West 48th Street. Officers arrested two suspects in the investigation of Johnson’s death on Monday. David William Grimm, Jr., 21, was charged with second degree murder, while Christopher Chase Johnson, 20, turned himself in to authorities on a charge of misdemeanor assault.

There are still so many questions about Johnson’s death. Family and students hope the answers will soon come to light.

“I love my brother,” said Dan Johnson. “Me and him were tight.”

“Your loss is unimaginable,” said ODU President John Broderick. “I can only hope that the knowledge that an entire community shares your grief and supports you.”

WAVY/Jason Marks
WAVY/Jason Marks

The candlelight vigil gave the ODU community a chance to lean on each other.

“He was a great kid,” said Dan Johnson. “I loved him so much more than I could even tell you.”

“I guess we are all thinking the same thing: how sad it is that a person of such talent, such capability, kindness and such intelligence should be abruptly taken from us at only 20 years of age,” said Joey Thiel, a friend. “I believe Paul is in a better place. In fact, I know he is, but the fact of the matter is I’m selfish because my life was a better place with him.”

Johnson’s funeral will be held Friday in Henrico County.

WATCH: Parents speak about ODU student’s death

His parents released a statement Thursday, saying Paul was working hard and trying to pay his way through school.


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