Family speaks at candlelight vigil for murdered Varina HS grad

NORFOLK, VA (WWBT) - The family of a murdered Old Dominion University student originally from Henrico spoke out for the first time since his death Wednesday.

Twenty-year-old Paul Johnson was beaten to death near ODU's campus early Sunday morning.

Paul's ODU classmates held a candlelight vigil Wednesday night on campus and his family came all the way from Henrico to attend.

"He was a great kid and I loved him so much," said Paul's brother Dan through tears. "More than I could ever tell you."

Paul Johnson was one of six boys but his parents say Paul stood out with his smarts, wit and unlimited potential.

"He was a great person," Paul's mom Therese said. "He wasn't perfect but he really was a fantastic person."

Norfolk police say Johnson was walking near ODU's campus just after Midnight Sunday when a fight broke out and the Varina High School graduate was hit in the head. He later died at a Norfolk hospital.

Police aren't releasing their mugshots but say, they've charged 21-year-old David Grimm, Jr with second-degree murder and 20-year-old Chase Johnson will misdemeanor assault.

It appears the two men didn't know Paul or have any ties to ODU.

"This is happening all over the country where people are coming into these college areas and bringing their violence," said Paul's dad Chris.

"Everytime something like this has happened over the past year I've thought to myself 'that could be my son' and suddenly, we lost the statistical battle and it was our son."

Chris Johnson says he doesn't want to place blame because nothing will bring his son back. Instead, he says now is a time for friends and family to love one another and remember Paul's short but full life.

Chase Johnson, who isn't related to Paul, will be in court in Norfolk Thursday to answer to his assault charge while Grimm is being held in jail without bond.

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