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Candlelight vigil scheduled for ODU student killed in attack

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

The Old Dominion University community is planning a candlelight vigil for a student with Henrico ties.

Twenty-year-old Paul Johnson was beaten to death near the campus this weekend. Johnson was a Varina High School grad.

Flowers now lay where Johnson, a sophomore at ODU, was attacked. Police say he died from his injuries.

"Paul was everybody's friend, looked up to, he was a leader," says Richard Starr, a former volleyball coach who has known Johnson and his family for years.

In Henrico, people are feeling the pain from this tragic death. Johnson grew up in eastern Henrico and played volleyball for Highland Springs and Varina.

"He was doing well in school and they were real proud of him," says Starr. "I know this is devastating for them."

On Sunday, Starr found out about the tragic attack. Norfolk police say Johnson was walking near the ODU campus when a man hit Johnson in the head. A witness tells sister station WAVY, that other suspects continued to beat the sophomore. 

Johnson's family attends Saint John's Catholic Church in Varina, he was an altar boy here.  Pastor Wayne Ball who worked at Saint John's but now works at Saint Patrick's, says the congregation has been praying for the family.

"The most important thing we can do for all of the family is to be there, be the support for them," says Father Ball.

Right now, ODU administrators are condemning this kind of violence and police are say they're working to keep it from happening again.  In a statement, "The Norfolk Police Department will further heighten police visibility in the area, and provide the Old Dominion University Police Department with any additional resources needed to bolster safety within the community."

A Triangle man, David William Grimm Jr., is now charged with second degree murder. A Woodbridge man, Christopher Johnson, who is not related to the victim, is charged with misdemeanor assault.

ODU just announced a candlelight vigil will be held for Johnson on Wednesday. It's expected to start at 7 p.m. at night on Kaufman Mall.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

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