Family of Homicide Victim Joins UVa Community for Vigil

November 20, 2013

More than 100 people gathered outside Observatory Hill dining hall at the University of Virginia for a vigil Wednesday night in memory of former Crossroads employee Jarvis Brown.

Family, friends and employees shared stories about the 22 year old, who was found shot dead on Woodland Drive in Charlottesville on October 17.

Brown interacted with hundreds of students on the job, but several say he had an ability to connect with them on a personal level.

"He would reach out to you and try to interact with you," one student said at the vigil.

More than a month after his death, students are still feeling an impact.

"It's been hard for a lot of us missing Jarvis," said another student.

Aside from work, close friend James Mack says Brown was a family man who deeply cared for his mother and daughter.

"It was the kind of love that, when you look in the dictionary, it would definitely say unconditional," Mack told the group.

Those who knew Brown paint him as a loving man, clearly loved by many, which has left some students wondering why the spotlight wasn't a little stronger on his death.

"I don't know if you all know how slow the reaction was from the university and for some other people to recognize even that a member of our community had fallen," said University of Virginia student Joseph Williams.

Students at Wednesday's vigil say they were there for solidarity. Speakers expressed an interest in bridging the gap between students and faculty, and others like Brown, who they come in contact with daily.

"We lost a life, and he was an integral part of our community, and we have to pay our respects," said Edel Tessema, who helped organize the event.

Tsaye Simpson, a 21-year-old from Charlottesville, has been charged with first-degree murder in the case. Brown's family says they do not know of a motive at this time, but hope all the details surface in court.

"I'm hoping and praying to God that he'll be man enough to stand up and say what happened and not lie about it because you took a good person away from all of us," said Brown's mother, Shirley Holley.

The vigil was organized by the Living Wage Campaign.

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