“Lavel was a good friend,” another student said through tears. “I’m just here for him and the family.”
For others, attending the service was a way to show respect to the young men and their community.
“I’m not here because they were football players,” said Steve Jones, 62, who graduated from UVA in 1982. “I’m here because they were young men on the cusp of life, in their prime. They were about to have the experiences of their lives. They had everything ahead of them to look forward to and it was all taken away from them.”
“I’m here to support the community,” said Tyler Tinsley, of Charlottesville. “The community needs to support not only the players at UVA, but the whole UVA community and especially the Black community. The Black community is hurting. We need to come together and lift ourselves up.”
UVA student Noor Sharif said coming to the memorial service helped her process the tragic events. The shooting occurred late Sunday and classes at UVA were canceled for Monday and Tuesday.
“I didn’t really feel it, the realization of it, until we went on Grounds after classes resumed and you could feel something was different. You could feel the impact, that it was real. It was so quiet, and people were so quiet,” she said.