Community remembers Lavel Davis Jr., Lowcountry football star killed in UVA shooting

Friends and family gathered to remember a high school athlete from Dorchester County who died in a mass shooting at the University of Virginia Campus.
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 3:58 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 8:44 PM EST
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Friends and family are gathering to remember the high school football standout from Dorchester County who died in a mass shooting at the University of Virginia Campus.

During a four-hour public viewing, people streamed through the doors of Greater St. James AME Church to pay their respects and show their love for Lavel Davis Jr.

“He was an old soul with a big heart. Extremely smart,” Davis’ great aunt, Fay Fountain, said. “And he’ll leave a gaping hole, but he left us with a mandate and his mandate is to do better, rise higher, regardless of your circumstances.”

Family members say Davis was a role model. His skills on the football field led him to national success in college, and they say he was destined to make a powerful impact on those who knew him.

“He took the responsibility of being an example for his nieces and nephews to heart. He was the example of what right looks like,” Fountain said.

Davis was one of three UVA football players gunned down on Nov. 13 as students returned from a field trip to Washington, D.C. Davis was an all-star football player at Woodland High School who went on to rank as one of the top receivers in the country at UVA.

Family members thanked the community for the outpouring of love they have seen from Woodland High School, UVA and neighbors who knew Davis.

“These people coming up like this, God is letting him know and letting us know that He has shined a light on him and embraced him and said, ‘Well done, faithful servant,’” cousin Marilynn Lee said.

The family says the cell phone and photo-free open casket in the church sanctuary was an opportunity for loved ones to each say a personal goodbye to Davis.

“Can you forgive something like this? No. Can you ever forget it? No. But we have to push through it,” Lee said. “I am so glad for the people who have come through. I bless God for the unity that we have in this family.”

Tuesday’s public viewing followed a candlelight vigil held on Nov. 20 at the Woodland High School football field.

A celebration of life for Davis is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Rivers Avenue.

Several Dorchester County District 4 schools plan to dismiss early to allow for a procession through the area to the convention center.