HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The parents of slain Old Dominion University student Paul Johnson delivered a statement Thursday in Henrico County. The 20-year-old sophomore died Sunday after police say he was hit over the head.
Paul’s parents, Chris and Therese Johnson, grew up in Hampton. Therese, herself, is a Monarch. Johnson’s parents had nothing but good things to say Thursday about ODU.
To them, Paul’s life was priceless, and what they’ve witnessed over the past few days validates that, from the crowd at Wednesday night’s candlelight vigil at ODU to the many cards and calls received from friends and strangers. Paul’s parents said they are getting to know their son through other people’s eyes, and the man he was makes them proud.
Johnson’s parents also released the following statement:
Paul was one of the cast of characters in our family, and we love each of them for who they are. We have always enjoyed every opportunity to share in their lives. Like a lot of other college kids, Paul was hard working and trying to pay his way through school. He was full of hopes and dreams and great expectations, and he had the ability to realize those dreams. As parents, we were very happy with the direction of Paul’s life had taken at Old Dominion.
We really appreciate all of the people who cared enough to step forward and help identify the the two suspects, and we also appreciate how ODU and Norfolk Police briefed us every step of the way. We had no doubt there would be arrests in short order.
We underestimated what Paul meant to his friends, and the sincere compassion and outpouring from the student community was exponentially larger than anything I ever expected. This an international community, particularly where Paul lived and everyone who has come up to us and talked have genuinely cared about Paul, not just some appearance. I am so glad Paul had a chance to experience this environment.
Watch the full statement from Johnson’s parents in the video above.