Rally held for murdered EMU student

(WXYZ) - A rally and candlelight vigil were held at Eastern Michigan University tonight in honor of Demarius Reed and other victims of violence.

The reward for information in the homicide of EMU football player Demarius Reed has doubled to $10,000.

Among the crowd of students at the vigil at least one person sported Demarius Reed's football jersey and it was his mother Tanesha Virgin.

"He has a light that will never go out.  And it's shining now, and it's shining bright," said Tanesha Virgin.

Reed's aunt and girlfriend also attended the vigil with Reed's mother.  Reed's mom embraced another mother tonight.

"We both need to find justice for our children," said Kimberly Turnquist.  Her daughter Julia Niswender murdered ten months ago at her off campus apartment--just up the road from where someone shot reed to death last Friday.

"What did Demarius have that they wanted so bad?  What did Julia ever do to someone to make them want to do what they did to her? " asked Lundquist.  Really? Is anything worth that?  No.  It's not.  It's not worth taking someone's life."

In an eerie set of coincidences, Turnquist actually interviewed reed for a job at Meijer two weeks before his murder.   Hearing about their exchange has been a comfort for Reed's mother.

"Everybody always said there was something about him, there was something about him," said Virgin.

And there is something these parents are begging students to do.

"Please speak up, please," said Lundquist.

 Students marched through campus to call for peace and an end to violence around their campus so they do not lose another student.

Reed's father did not make this vigil tonight because he stayed in the Chicago area where the family is from and represented the family and the high school from where Reed graduated.  The group let go balloons in Reed's memory.  Reed's mother tells 7 Action News that he was the first one from her family to go away to college.

Reed was found dead in his off-campus apartment early Friday morning on the 700 block of W. Clark Road near LeForge Rd.

Monday, Interim Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DeGiusti said several people walked by Reed lying in the stairwell of his apartment complex after he was shot. No one helped because they thought he was passed out from drinking too much.

Chief DeGiusti said that at least six people heard the gunshots but no one called police. Plus, there were several fights in the parking lot of the apartment complex and no one called police.

During interviews with police, several students said their landlords had instructed them not to call police if there was ever a problem. Reason being; the apartments would be billed by police and the cost would then be passed off to the leasees.

The chief denies the validity of the landlords' claims.

The night before Reed's death, people were out celebrating a birthday at Papi O's. Hours later, police believed a group of people went to an after-party in a first floor unit of building 773 at the University Green Apartments.

Reed lived on the third floor of the same building.

Detectives are looking for anyone who was at the after-party as they search for more clues. Many people who live in Reed's building heard about the party but told 7 Action News they did not attend the gathering.

Since Reed's murder, security has been beefed-up in the area.

If you were at the after-party, know anyone who was there, or know anything about the case you are asked to call Ypsilanti detectives at (734) 368-8780 or Ypsilanti police at (734) 438-9510.

Funeral services for Demarius will be held at 11 a.m. this Saturday, October 26, at Holy Temple Evangelistic Church of God in Christ, 15912 Lincoln Avenue, Harvey, Ill.

Visitation is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (CDT) this Friday, October 25, at Leak and Sons Funeral Chapel, 7838 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, Ill.

If you'd like to help, a Demarius Reed Memorial Fund has been set up in the wide receiver's honor. You can donate by:

  • Sending a check to the EMU Foundation, 1349 South Huron Street, Ypsilanti, MI  48197 (note on check – Demarius Reed Memorial Fund
  •     Donating by phone at 734-484-1322 ;
  •     Making a contribution online at www.emufoundation.org . Click "Donate Now" and select the Demarius Reed Memorial Fund.
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