WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Omar Sykes, a Howard University student who was shot and killed on the evening of July 4, was remembered during a memorial service at the Andrew Rankin Chapel on the school’s campus Wednesday.
“Omar was an inspirational young man who truly embodied the Howard mantra of ‘truth and service,’” the University wrote in a Facebook post. “We will come together as a family to celebrate the time we spent with Omar, and his work we have been inspired to continue on in his name.”
Police say the 22-year-old was walking just before 11:30 p.m. with another student near campus on Fairmont Street when they were approached by two armed men. One of the men pulled out a gun and shot Sykes, police said. The other student was beaten, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Howard has identified Sykes as a junior marketing major and a member of the Alpha Phi Omega international service fraternity.
Howard president Sidney A. Ribeau said in a letter to the university community that Sykes was an “advocate for social justice” who last month wrote a blog post about Trayvon Martin’s death.
“Unfortunately, senseless acts of violence are too common place in communities around the nation and we must do more to ensure that promising young men and women have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We extend our condolences to the Sykes family, friends and those who knew him well,” Ribeau wrote.
D.C. Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the suspect/s responsible for Sykes’ death.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who was in attendance at the memorial service, says he would like to rename the block of Fairmont Street where the shooting took place “Omar Sykes Street.”
Weeks before the shooting, Sykes’s home was broken into. Gray announced that an arrest has been made in that case, and promises an arrest will be made in his murder, as well.
Sykes’s family is working to establish a scholarship in Omar’s name. Donations can be made here.