The Duke University recruiter was found stabbed to death in his apartment nearly two weeks ago.
Blackman's life, however, has been described as full. Tuesday, dozens of friends turned out for a memorial service honoring that life.
It was a simple goodbye under not-so-simple circumstances.
Friends filled Duke Chapel hoping to celebrate Blackman's life while still seeking answers in his death.
"He was such a great guy," said Kadidia Konare, a friend of Blackman's. "I can't believe any of this is happening."
Two weeks ago, Blackman was found dead in his Forest Hills apartment. He had been bound and stabbed repeatedly.
Crime scene investigators searched the apartment for two days, sifting through piles of possible evidence. Tuesday, dozens of those items were at the State Bureau of Investigation lab in Raleigh for forensic testing.
Investigators continued to be tight-lipped about the case, releasing few details. When asked if they have a suspect, their response has been no comment.
"The only thing I'm at liberty to say is we are following all leads," said Lt. Norman Blake, of the Durham Police Department.
Blackman has been described as outgoing. Friends Tuesday called him a beacon of hope.
"He reached out to students and encouraged us to take chances on our own success," said Chiatogu Onyewu.
Said Heather Dean: "Everyone was touched by his energy, his enthusiasm, his bubbly sense of humor."
They said understanding Blackman's life was easy. Trying to figure out his death will never be.
Another memorial service for Blackman was scheduled to be held Tuesday night at Asbury Temple United Methodist Church on Alston Avenue.
Blackman, a Trinidad native, was buried in his home country last week.
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