HAMPTON, Va. — Every Sunday, Aaron Swinton received the same text.
"Can you drive me to church?"
The message came from his friend and fellow William & Mary football player Joshua Owusu-Koramoah.
The pair became teammates in 2016 and maintained a close bond even after Swinton, who is older, graduated.
"He dragged me to church every Sunday. It was me and him," said Swinton, who lives in Pennsylvania now. "Even though he was asking me for a favor, he did way more for me."
Right now, many people in the William & Mary community are filled with sorrow and questions.
Hampton police are investigating after someone found Owusu-Koramoah's body inside in townhome on Lake Tower Drive on Tuesday.
Investigators found evidence of a fire inside the home.
Though police have not released any information about the manner or cause of Owusu-Koramoah's death, authorities upgraded the case to a homicide investigation on Wednesday.
Investigators arrested Ronald Ivan Scott, 33, of Hampton, Thursday and charged him with one count of murder and one count of arson.
Scott was taken into custody in Orlando, Florida, and remains in Orange County Jail, said Hampton Police.
"He led a very authentic life," said Jeffrey Buffkin, a campus pastor. "Joshua probably knew half the campus."
Before college, Owusu-Koramoah attended Bethel High School in Hampton. He played football with his brother, Jeremiah, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns.
Owusu-Koramoah served as a biological sciences editor for the yearbook and sang in the church choir. He was also a member of the student advisory board and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America.
At William & Mary, he played as a reserve linebacker from 2016 to 2018. He graduated with a Chemistry degree in 2020.
"Joshua had a gift," said Buffkin.
Buffkin is the campus minister of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at William & Mary. After graduation, Owusu-Koramoah served as a campus ministry intern in 2021.
Buffkin said Owusu-Koramoah cared deeply for everyone he met.
“Joshua listened to people and wanted to pray for them," he said. "He often sent an article or text all hours of the day saying, 'I was thinking about you.'”
On social media, tributes continue to pour in memory of the 23-year-old man.
Owusu-Koramoah recently became a teacher at a private Christian school in Hampton, according to Buffkin.
"There are hundreds of people in Williamsburg that just believe their lives are so much better because of him," Buffkin said.
William & Mary Head Football Coach Mike London said members of the team gathered on the football field Thursday for a moment of silence and shared stories about Joshua.
"He was a guy who would write letters, notecards and stick it in guys' lockers," London said. "They would be words of encouragement."
Owusu-Koramoah would often send prayer requests and devotionals to London, even after leaving the team to focus on academics in 2018.
If London had to choose three words to describe the former player, they would be smile, grace and humility. He said Joshua often spoke about being a 'servant leader.'
"Joshua is proof that good people can leave lasting impact," London said. "He didn't care who you were. He affirmed, acknowledged and accepted everyone."
"He was the most unique person on the entire planet," Swinton said. "He was pure and loving. Everything he did was out of pure love -- and those are the reasons why I looked up to Josh."
Swinton, who served as team captain, described his former teammate as consistent and the only person he would share his deepest burdens with. Swinton said the old friends would always connect when he visited Williamsburg.
"Before he left, every time you knew for a fact he was going to lay his hands on you and pray for you," Swinton said with tears.
"There's no question where Josh is at," Swinton said, referring to the Christian doctrine of heaven. "I know he'd want me to say that."