Trevor VanDyke had just started at NCCU and was very excited to have the opportunity to play football for the university, according to his cousin. He was expected to walk on in the coming season, NCCU head football coach Trei Oliver said.
"He was a great young man, a great attitude and just a great spirit, a great guy to have on the team," Oliver said.
Police found VanDyke in the 4600 block of Industry Lane shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Monday. They said he had been shot at the Campus Crossings apartment complex nearby.
The off-campus apartments, home to many NCCU students, was the site of a 2018 shooting of another NCCU student, DeAndre Ballard, who fought with a security guard there before his death.
VanDyke's cousin said football was his "one true love," and that the whole family is trying to wrap their heads around how and why this happened. "I just miss my little cousin," he said.
NCCU released a statement calling VanDyke a 'fallen Eagle.'
"Our community has been shaken by the sudden and tragic death of one of our first-year students ... The young Eagle's untimely passing is difficult for all of us. We would ask that you place Mr. VanDyke's family, classmates and friends in your thoughts and prayers," the chancellor of NCCU wrote in a message to students.
Friends remember a proud eagle
On Tuesday night, the student union was full of mourners remembering VanDyke.
"Trevor loved each and every one of y’all," Nyquasia Brown said at the vigil. "We all know that smile would illuminate a room."
Alex Ducoste, who described himself as VanDyke's best friend, said, "He was probably one of the happiest people I’ve seen on campus."
"He was just too good of a person for this to happen," Ducoste said. "I’ve never met somebody so caring like him before."
Another friend, Antonio Davis, said VanDyke was meant for bigger things.
"We’d just be talking about our future, and we had a big future, and I told him, 'We’re both destined for greatness,'" Davis said.
"He came to work everyday and never complained," the football coach, Oliver, said. "Just last week our staff was talking about how well this young man was doing. He was one of the fastest guys on the team. His athletic ability was just amazing. And he had a really bright future. The sky was the limit for that young man."
VanDyke was a graduate of Clayton High School. The school posted a memorial on their Facebook, saying, "Once a Comet, always a Comet."
Police: Not a random shooting
Police said they do not believe VanDyke was the victim of a random attack.
Van Dyke's cousin said VanDyke was in his car when he was shot, and police towed that car away as evidence.
Durham police asked anyone with information about the incident to call investigator J. Mitchell at 919-560-4440 ext. 29335 or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.
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