NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Rickey Scott had a ready smile and willing hand to help anyone in need. That’s how Tennessee State University students, faculty, and staff remembered the freshman Monday night at a candlelight vigil.
Scott, 19, died Sunday afternoon at a local Nashville hospital from a critical gunshot wound, according to authorities. The case remains under investigation.
Many held hands, while others wiped away tears, as students said prayers and sang songs during the vigil organized by the SGA and Freshmen Class. TSU’s Amphitheater on the main campus served as the backdrop for the very emotional event. The university was stunned by the sudden death of the engineering major from Ohio, who was just entering his third month as a freshman. Many of the students did not know Scott personally, but attended the vigil to show their support for his family and friends. Others who encountered the spirited young man remembered his smiles, lightheartedness and caring personality.
TSU President Glenda Glover was among university officials at the candlelight vigil. She lamented Scott’s death, expressed sympathy to Scott’s family who attended the ceremony, and thanked the students for coming together to remember their fellow student.
“We ask the Almighty God to put his arms around us as a university, a student body to protect us and strengthen this family during this time,” Glover said. “We are heartbroken by this loss and we grieve with Rickey’s family and those who knew him. In times like these, we must come together and support each other as one university community.”
Tiona Williamson, a sophomore majoring in cardiorespiratory care, did not know Scott too well, but fondly remembers talking to him just days before his passing.
“I met him and we had a couple of conversations,” said Williamson, of Jackson, Tennessee. “I didn’t know him personally, but thought he was a really sweet person. He was really nice, cool and laid back. It is so sad what happened to him.”
“He was loved,” one of Scott’s family members added.
Also speaking at the candlelight vigil were Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association; Mr. TSU Damyr Moore; and Caleb Jarmon, President of the freshman class.
Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the vigil was a show of unity among students, especially the freshmen, who wanted to make sure that they came together, to hold hands and to encourage one another.
“This is somewhat of a cloudy day in the Land of Golden Sunshine,” Stevenson said. “We have a Tiger that has fallen and the students have paused to celebrate his life with this vigil.”
Miss Freshman, Ashanti Mitchell, said it was sad to lose a classmate just shortly after starting their college journey.
“We have been here no more than three months and just now starting our first Homecoming and to lose one of our classmates is just unfortunate,” said Mitchell, a biology major from Louisville, Kentucky. “I wish coming together was under a better circumstance. The fact that my class came out and supported even though some of them didn’t even know him, I really appreciate it and I hope that we keep this close bond and be supportive of each other going forward.”
Sunday was the start of Homecoming week at TSU, but Glover assured the gathering of increased TSUPD and Metro police presence to ensure safety due to the expected high traffic on campus.
Law enforcement is continuing to look into all information, including video surveillance. TSUPD say there was no report of a shooting or suspicious activity on campus prior to receiving the call from Metro police dispatch. They’re still trying to determine exactly where he sustained the fatal injury and a motive. School administrators are asking for the public to come forward with any information that may help in the investigation.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.