Tributes pour in at funeral for Lavel Davis Jr., Lowcountry football star killed in UVA shooting

The Dorchester County high school football standout killed in a shooting earlier this month on the University of Virginia campus will be laid to rest Wednesday.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 12:21 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 4:17 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Coaches, friends and fellow athletes from the Lowcountry and from the University of Virginia paid tribute Wednesday to the Dorchester County high school football standout killed in a shooting earlier this month on the University of Virginia campus.

A celebration of life for Lavel Davis, Jr., 20, was held at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in North Charleston.

Davis, a Ridgeville native and Woodland High School alum, was one of three UVA football players who were shot to death on the night of Nov. 13 after a class trip to the nation’s capital.

The program for Wednesday’s service called him a “kind-hearted…thoughtful…awesome and caring young man who loved God.”

Among the speakers was 6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn, who said it is not how long one lives but how well and tireless the life was lived.

“His athletic and academic accomplishments were enviable. His service to his church and community were admirable. And his relationships with his family and friends were legendary,” Clyburn said. “Not many people, no matter how long they may live, will get to be as highly regarded on so many fronts.”

Beady Waddell, the head football coach at West Mecklenburg High School in North Carolina, said the one thing he thinks of about Davis was his character.

“Lavel’s character more than anything, more than this athletic ability, his character is something that I admired in him, something that I admire. I want my son to be like Lavel,” Waddell said.

Dorchester County deputies said they expected an extremely large turnout ahead of road closures and traffic delays planned in the town of Ridgeville for Davis’ funeral procession and graveside services.

Beginning at 1 p.m., Coburn Town Road closed from School Street to Crum Lane with limited access; and South Railroad Avenue closed from Church Street to Campbell Thicket. The closures are expected to last until about 6 p.m.

During a four-hour visitation Tuesday afternoon, friends and family members shared memories of Davis and his impact on those around him at Greater St. James AME Church.

“He was an old soul with a big heart. Extremely smart,” Davis’ great aunt, Fay Fountain, said. “And he’ll leave a gaping hole, but he left us with a mandate and his mandate is to do better, rise higher, regardless of your circumstances.”

Family members say Davis was a role model. His skills on the football field led him to national success in college, and they say he was destined to make a powerful impact on those who knew him.

Davis was an all-star football player at Woodland High School who went on to rank as one of the top receivers in the country at UVA.

Family members thanked the community for the outpouring of love they have seen from Woodland High School, UVA and neighbors who knew Davis.

“These people coming up like this, God is letting him know and letting us know that He has shined a light on him and embraced him and said, ‘Well done, faithful servant,’” cousin Marilynn Lee said. “I am so glad for the people who have come through. I bless God for the unity that we have in this family.”

Processional for Lavel Davis, Jr. to impact traffic in Charleston, Dorchester Counties

Lowcountry law enforcement agencies are warning of possible traffic delays because of the funeral processional for a University of Virginia football player fatally shot earlier this month.

Charleston County deputies will escort the procession following the celebration of life for Lavel Davis Jr. at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston.

Deputies say the procession is expected to begin around 4 p.m. Wednesday and involve hundreds of vehicles leaving the church on Rivers Avenue, going to Ashley Phosphate Road and traveling westbound on I-26 into the Summerville area where the escort will be turned over to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.

Dorchester County deputies will continue the escort to the Ridgeville Road exit on I-26 and end at Bethel AME Church Cemetary on Railroad Avenue in Ridgeville.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office says beginning around 1 p.m. Coburn Town Road will be closed from School Street to Crum Lane with limited access for residents only. South Railroad Avenue will also be closed to traffic from Church Street to Campbell Thicket.

The closures are expected to last until around 6 p.m.

Motorists should expect delays and are encouraged to find alternate routes.