HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Nick Ackies, a Norfolk State football player and Henrico native, will be laid to rest on Sunday.
Ackies was gunned down just miles from campus last weekend. Those who knew and loved him say they'll remember Nick as a generous friend, and compassionate person.
Hundreds showed up at Norfolk State University for a candlelight vigil there to honor the slain 18-year-old. As the Norfolk State Choir sang, there was a sense of peace and unity across campus. Freshman Nick Ackies is gone, but not forgotten.
The Henrico native was shot and killed inside a house on Hayes Street where he lived. 22-year-old NSU grad Jaquan Anderson - who is from Chesterfield - is charged with second degree murder. Police are still determining the motive.
"It was so sudden, and everybody was just shocked. It hit home very hard, because I am from Richmond," said Milan Baker.
Students lit candles and released balloons in honor of Nick. They remember him as a great student, talented athlete, but most importantly...an amazing friend.
"People would be sad and he'll go hug them, and they would just be good. Everybody would start laughing, bringing smiles back, he'd bring good energy to a crowd," said Dezmond Jenkins.
The Spartans football team stood side-by-side at the vigil. Nick, who was a defensive lineman, only played in three games, but teammates knew his future was bright.
"He was going to be a great player. He's playing up in Heaven now," said Benin Allen. "He was a baller. I know he had some injuries and stuff, but a big dude for a freshman."
These students say it's hard to accept that they will take the field without Nick or sit next to him in class. They are frustrated that shootings continue to happen in their community.
"It's sad, because so many teens keep on dying because of gun violence, and the gun violence really needs to stop," said Kayla Jordan. "He came here to get an education and to play football, and his life was taken away."
There will be another candlelight vigil at Douglas Freeman, where Nick Ackies graduated earlier this year, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Then on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., there will be a funeral service at West End Assembly of God on North Parham Road.
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