VSU students mourn the loss of one of their own

Daron Jack
Daron Jack

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

ETTRICK, VA (WWBT) - Heavy hearts on the campus of Virginia State University as hundreds of students mourn the loss of one of their own. A candle light vigil was held for murdered VSU senior, 23-year-old Daron Jack.

Pain and sorrow strongly felt on the campus Thursday night. Daron Jack was a VSU tennis standout who had a strong bond with his teammates. Their raw emotions demonstrated just how much they miss their friend.

Remembering a Trojan in grand fashion, a life gone too soon. The VSU men's tennis team couldn't mask their pain.

"Jack wasn't just a friend to us, I mean we've been together four years," said teammate Travis Jones.

They held onto each other for support when in the past, it was Jack they turned to in hard times.

"Jack was my inspiration for when I was playing tennis. It was a time I was about to quit the team. I didn't want to play any more and Jack told me, he told me not to quit," said teammate Harrison Gaskins.

Jack was beaten to death Monday allegedly by 24-year-old Deondray Maddox, a convicted felon on probation. On that night, VSU's head tennis coach Gene Thompson says the university lost one of its brightest lights.

"A great individual, a great teammate, and perhaps last spring he teamed with John Lanier and played the best tennis of his career," said Thompson, head of the men's tennis team.

Thompson says Jack, an engineering major, wanted to return to the Virgin Islands, after graduation in December to help make a difference at home. Those closest to Jack say he had a good head on his shoulders.

"He was the type of young man you would want if you had a daughter for her to be with him," said VSU Tennis Advisor, Hank McCoy.

As students move forward, the VSU Student Government Association President urged them to keep this in mind...

"Embrace your friends and neighbors and remember that life is too short to be filled with useless arguments and gossip," said Jessica Stringfellow.

Stringfellow also told the crowd to never forget Daron Jack.

"May his light always shine in each of our hearts," said Stringfellow.

We're told Daron Jack's two uncles could not make the vigil because they're making arrangements to bring his body back to the Virgin Islands. A court date has not yet been set for Suspect Deondray Maddox.

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