Planned Vigil for Slain Howard Univ. Student Back On - NBC4 Washington

Planned Vigil for Slain Howard Univ. Student Back On



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    A planned vigil for a slain Howard University student for Saturday night is now back on, according to the organizing group.

    Friends of Omar Sykes will gather tonight to honor the 22-year-old student who was shot and killed during an attempted robbery Thursday evening. The Howard University Student Association, who is hosting the vigil, said students have requested the event be private “so they can grieve the loss of a friend, classmate and brother.”

    Sykes and another student were walking in the 700 block of Fairmont Street NW just before 11:30 p.m. when they were approached by two men. Police said some sort of an argument or fight ensued during the robbery.

    One of the men pulled out a gun and shot Sykes. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

    "We believe it was a random encounter... [we're] not sure if anything was taken [from the victims]," Capt. Bob Alder with D.C. Police told News4.

    The other victim was pistol-whipped and beaten, investigators say. He suffered a head injury that's not considered life-threatening.

    "A lot of kids are really terrified. They can't have fun out in the night or anything like that. It is really, really, really scary," one Howard University student told News4's Megan McGrath.

    A full description of the suspects is not available at this time.

    Howard University released this statement on Thursday's fatal shooting and assault:

    "We are deeply saddened by the passing of one our students in an off-campus incident. A second student was injured and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.... Howard University Police Department is cooperating with the Metropolitan Police Department to thoroughly investigate this regrettable incident."
    The statement continued, "We extend our heartfelt sympathy to members of the immediate and the campus family. Counseling and support services are available on a 24-hour basis for students who need assistance during this difficult time."