Howard University Student Remembered at Vigil

A 22-year-old Howard University student shot and killed during an attempted robbery Thursday night was remembered by his classmates Friday evening at a vigil.

Omar Sykes, 22, 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 believe it may have been an attempted robbery, but some sort of an argument or fight ensued. 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.

The vigil Friday was organized by Sykes' service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega.

"Any time  you lose a brother, whether it's blood or fraternal bond or a friend, you lose a piece of yourself," friend Jennifer Jenkins said.

Sykes' mother traveled from Mozambique to the District to deal with funeral arrangements of her only son.

Many gatherings were being held in the area at the time of the shooting, police and residents told McGrath. Given the number of people in the area, police are hoping someone can provide information that will lead to an arrest.

Sykes was a rising senior, majoring in marketing.

A vigil for Sykes is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at the flagpole on campus.

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."


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