NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The Norfolk State University family is mourning one of their own.
On Friday, Freshman NSU football player Nicholas James Ackies was shot and killed inside a Norfolk home. Thursday hundreds attended a candlelight vigil on campus to remember him.
Nicholas, only 18-years-old, was in his first semester of college at Norfolk State. He had only been on campus for a few months, but during that time he made a lasting impact on many of his fellow students.
"Just happy, smiling he was always looking out for everybody making sure they are ok," said student Milan Baker.
As the Norfolk State Choir sang and the student body locked arms there was a sense of peace and unity across campus. Ackies is gone, but never forgotten.
The shooting took place on Hayes Street where Ackies lived. 22-year-old Jaquan Anderson, an NSU grad, has been charged with second-degree murder. Police are still investigating the motive.
"It was so sudden and everybody was just shocked, it hit home very hard because I am from Richmond," said Baker.
Students lit candles and released balloons in honor of Ackies. They say he'll be remembered as a great student, talented athlete, and most importantly, an amazing person.
"People would be sad and he'll go hug them and they would just be good, everybody would start laughing, bringing smiles back, he'd bring good energy to a crowd," said student Dezmond Jenkins.
The Spartans football team stood side by side at the vigil. Ackies, who was a defensive lineman, only got to play in three games, but those who watched him knew his future was bright.
"He was going to be a great player, he's playing up in heaven now, he was a baller. I know he had some injuries and stuff so he was out the last few games, but a big dude for a freshman," said student Benin Allen.
These students say it's hard to accept that they will no longer see Ackies on the field or in the classroom. They are frustrated that these shootings continue to happen in their community.
"It's sad because so many teens keep on dying because of gun violence and the gun violence really needs to stop, he came here to get an education and to play football and his life was taken away," said student Kayla Jordan.
Ackies family was also at the vigil but they asked for their privacy. However, they did ask the community to pray for Norfolk State University.
Ackie's funeral is scheduled for this Sunday afternoon in Richmond at West End Assembly of God.