WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — It was an emotional night at the William & Mary college campus. The community came together Monday night to remember 19-year-old student and sophomore running back Nate Evans.
Norfolk police said Evans was shot late Thursday night just east of Old Dominion University’s campus. The shooting was Norfolk’s second homicide of 2019.
Hundreds of people filled Kaplan Arena at the college campus to honor the student who people said will be greatly missed.
With his family and football teammates looking on, Nate Evans was remembered as a great friend, a talented athlete and a loving son.
“You were a beautiful man with a contagious smile and a heart too big for your body,” said teammate Carl Fowler.
Evans’ jersey was displayed on the stage as video of his time on the football field played on a screen. His teammates tearfully walked in and consoled each other.
The crowd stood as Evans’ mother walked into the arena, heartbroken.
William & Mary President Katherine Rowe emotionally addressed the community.
“We together will help you shoulder it. We are one Tribe and one family always,” Rowe said.
Evans was described as competitive on the field but a caring person nonetheless.
“He was an encourager. He was a believer. He saw people’s potential and believed that they could do things they never considered,” Fowler said. “He went out of his way to make people smile even on days when he couldn’t smile himself.”
Evans grew up in Mechanicsville where he graduated from Lee-Davis High School. WAVY sister station WRIC reports Evans finished his high school football career with 4,000 all-purpose yards and a school-record 56 touchdowns.
University leaders released a statement that read in part:
”Our hearts are broken for Nate’s teammates, friends and family. W&M is a very close community, and what affects one of us affects us all. Nate will be greatly missed.”
There were lots of tears but laughs too.
Known for his love for shoes and fashion choices, his teammate recalled a time when Evans offered him a little help.
“I walked into his room that first summer we were here and he goes ‘are those cargo shorts? Yea? That’s OK bro, we’ll go shopping soon,’” Fowler said.
Although his family didn’t speak on stage, a family friend read a letter that Evans’ mother wrote to her son.
“Though the world ahead seems extremely dark without you, I will be looking for your light every minute of every day. Shine bright, baby. Light up the world like only you can. Momma loves you.”
Head football coach Mike London said in statement last week, “Nate’s is a loss we are feeling deeply within our program … we will do all we can to support and comfort Nate’s family and loved ones through this difficult time.“
No arrests have been made in this case. If you have any information call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Evan’s family. To donate, click here.