UPDATE: Arrest made after murder of VSU student

Deondray Maddox
Deondray Maddox
Daron Jozema Jack
Daron Jozema Jack

By Laura Geller - bio | email

ETTRICK, VA (WWBT) – Police have arrested Deondray Maddox, 26, of the 300 block of Fillmore Street in Petersburg in the murder of Virginia State University student Daron Jozema Jack, 23.

He is charged with first-degree murder in the death investigation of Jack that occurred at a residence in the 3400 block of Watson Street Monday night. Maddox is being held at the Petersburg City Jail pending a November court date.

The police investigation alleges that Maddox and Jack were acquaintances. Police believe the student's death was the result of an assault that occurred during a dispute between the two.

The VSU campus is reeling after the murder.  The well-liked student-athlete was found near death in an apartment close to campus.

The medical examiner said this morning that Jack died from blunt force trauma to the head.

NBC12 spoke with friends of the victim who identified him as a senior tennis player from the Virgin Islands.  Those who knew him can't believe this has happened.

The word of a fellow Trojan's death spread quickly through an email from university police and on Twitter.  A student population of more than 5,000 is now thinking the same thing.

"I just don't understand how that could have happened," said Janae Strother who lives near the crime scene.

Chesterfield Police are looking into that exact question.  They call this a homicide investigation.  What we do know at this point is that police responded to a back apartment on Watson Street and found a man who was badly hurt.  They believe he was assaulted but would not elaborate about his injuries.

One woman told us when she woke up she counted 16 police cars up and down Watson.  That was right before a helicopter landed at VSU stadium, which is right across the street from the crime scene.

It's a place students like fellow senior Desmond Johnson pass every day.

"It's safe because we on school but when stuff happens right here, that's crazy," he said.

The news that Jack later died at VCU Medical Center hit recent grad Strother and her friends especially hard.  They actually knew the victim.

"I've seen him around all the time," she explained.  "It blows me how you could see somebody and never think about how they could be gone that fast."

As authorities work to get in touch with out of town family, this campus is left grieving a loss it doesn't understand.

"It happened right here," said Strother.  "It could have been you, you never know."

We spoke with a crew who had been working near the crime scene.  They said detectives asked if they had seen a bloody shirt on their site. Police told them they think someone may have run through the woods and gotten rid of it.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved