VCU gathers to remember slain student Samuel Kwarteng

Vigil attendees shared about Kwarteng's "hard-working," "selfless" and "talented" characteristics, among others. Photo by Julie Tripp.
Vigil attendees shared about Kwarteng’s “hard-working,” “selfless” and “talented” characteristics, among others. Photo by Julie Tripp.

The VCU community gathered on the campus Commons last Friday to commemorate the life of a peer, 20-year-old senior Samuel Kwarteng, who was shot and killed on the 1200 block of W. Moore Street at 12:28 a.m. last Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that I inform the university community of the tragic death this morning of a VCU student,” said VCU President Michael Rao in an email.

Kwarteng, from Alexandria, Va., lived on the 1700 block of Jacqulin Street. Richmond Police said the suspect, Emmanuel Jordan, 20, of the 1200 block of West Moore Street, was arrested shortly after the shooting and is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Kwarteng died on the front porch of the W. Moore Street home. A vigil was also held on Saturday in Kwarteng hometown of Alexandria, Va.

Micky Atakilt, a senior at VCU, emphasized his friend’s admirable qualities, but also concern regarding recent media coverage of Kwarteng’s death.

“Sam moved himself (off campus) so he could focus on school. That’s why he’s graduating at 20-years-old, but there hasn’t been enough focus on who he was as a person in the media,” Atakilt said.

Kwarteng was a member of VCU’s Pi Kappa and was set to graduate a year early this May with his degree in Electrical Engineering. Many of his past and current fraternity brothers attended the vigil on campus.

During the candle-lit vigil, students, faculty, friends and members of the Kwarteng family gathered in a large circle to share memories of the young man who was repeatedly referenced as, among other characteristics, “hard-working,” “caring,” “selfless” and “talented.”

“He worked really hard,” said VCU Pi Kappa alum Gabriel Perez. “He never spoke ill of anyone and was one the most kind people I’ve ever known.”

A GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $15,000 to help Kwarteng’s family cover funeral expenses launched on Friday. At press time, more than $20,000 had been donated to the cause after only two days.

VCU Police Chief John Venuti sent an email to the community on April 14 to deliver a message about student safety.

“I want to assure you that VCU is committed to ensuring the safety of our students,” Venuti said. “In response to some of the recent events near campus, VCU Police have increased patrols and officer visibility.”

Last year marked Richmond’s deadliest in a decade, but 2017 homicide rates already surpass the number of killings this time last year. There were 20 homicides as of April 13, 2016; on that date last week, there were 24 recorded in Richmond since the start of the year.


maura_mazurowski. photo by sarah kingMaura Mazurowski
Maura is a senior pursuing degrees in cinema and mass communications. This is her second year at the CT; prior to joining transferring to VCU, Maura was the news editor for two years at Virginia Tech’s student newspaper, the Collegiate Times. Maura has been published in USA TODAY, Elite Daily and other online publications. Her ideal job would involve combining investigative journalism and film. If all else fails, hopefully The Onion will be hiring.
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Siona Peterous. Photo by Julie TrippSiona Peterous
Siona is a senior majoring in political science with a concentration in international relations and a double minor in media studies and Arabic and Middle Eastern studies. She is heavily influenced by her family’s immigrant background and often writes about the intersection of politics with identity. Siona is an advocate for grassroots activism and political movements, and her dream job involves multimedia-based investigative journalism. She has a plethora of life goals but is only focusing on two right now: learning as many languages as possible and perfecting her Instagram aesthetic.

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