Students, staff gather at vigil held in honor of Southern University students

Several students, staff gather at vigil held in honor of Southern University students
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The grief among the Southern University family over the violent loss of two students was tangible as students gathered for a vigil. Many in the crowd were clinging to one another for comfort.

"I heard the news, I've never seen grown men cry," said Demetrius Carter, president of the Athletic Advisor Committee. "She loved us and we loved her."

Freshman Annette January and sophomore Lashuntae Benton were gunned down after a party, collateral damage it seems of someone else's fight. Their deaths sent the city into shock.

"The funniest thing I've learned about violence is that it has no soul, no mouthpiece, no face, no life, so it takes yours," student Jeremiah Cornelius recited from a poem.

As students tried to reconcile with their pain, prayer and song turned into a revival.

"The question is, where is your brother?" Pastor Gerard Robinson preached to the crowd.

Using the story of Cain and Abel from the Bible, Robinson urged the crowd to care for one another and reach out for help when needed.

"If God is asking me where my brother is, there must be a need for me to take responsibility for my brother," Robinson said.

As the crowd left with candles lit in memory of Annette and Lashuntae, the grief seemed to lift for a moment, allowing for hope that their lives made difference.

"Let us leave here united, determined to be our brother's keeper," said Brandon Dumas, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.

The Southern University System Foundation has established a memorial fund to support the families of Benton and January. Donations to the Benton-January fund can be made HERE.

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