Mourners Gather for Slain UNC Student’s Funeral
Posted March 9, 2008 5:15 a.m. EDT
Updated March 10, 2008 8:36 a.m. EDT
Athens, Ga. — Friends and family mourned slain University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Student Body President Eve Carson in her hometown Sunday.
Carson’s body was discovered early Wednesday on Hillcrest Circle, about a half-mile from campus. She had been shot at least once in the right temple.
Carson's funeral was held at 3 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Athens. Friends from both UNC and high school attended the service.
"We can't remember a time when Eve wasn't smiling and giving and she was really humble,” friend Amy Snyder said.
Carson's high school principal addressed the crowd during the service.
"There really aren't words that describe Eve,” Clarke Central Principal Maxine Easom said.
Carson, 22, was valedictorian of Clarke Central's class of 2004.
"It is a loss that tears at you, what she could have meant to our world," Easom said.
Friends from UNC wore Carolina Blue ribbons in honor of Carson’s love for the university and its people. UNC Chancellor James Moeser also shared his memories of Carson.
Saturday night, Mourners packed into the 750-seat auditorium of Clarke Central High School for a vigil.
The Athens Herald-Banner reported that friends and family added to a Tibetan prayer flag during another Saturday night visitation at First United Methodist Church. Supporters wrote stories about Carson and messages for her parents and brother on the prayer flag.
Carson, a pre-med major studying political science and biology, was active in leadership and service roles. As a Morehead-Cain scholar, she spent her summers volunteering and working overseas in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana.
Police asked for the public's help Saturday identifying a possible suspect in photographs taken by surveillance camera at an automated-teller machine.
Both UNC and Duke fans and basketball teams took time out from Saturday's big game day to honor Carson.
At a news conference Friday, UNC Coach Roy Williams said Carson's death had deeply affected the team, particularly two players who knew her. Williams declined to identify the players, but a photo submitted by a WRAL viewer showed star Tyler Hansbrough posing with Carson.
"We're hoping Saturday's game will bring some more cheer in the face of what we're dealing with," UNC alumna Michelle Hall said. "Hopefully, everyone's playing for the memory of Eve."
"I think there's still a real common bond and unity that people have for this campus, this area and for the basketball team and for Eve Carson and what she meant to the university," UNC graduate Elizabeth Kelly said.
In a show of unity in what is arguably college sports' biggest rivalry, Cameron Indoor Stadium held a pre-game moment of silence Saturday night for Carson. Both teams lined up across the court on their foul lines, and fans were so quiet that the click of photographers' cameras could be heard.
The moment of silence also brought the bustle at the Top of the Hill restaurant, crowded with UNC fans on Franklin Street, to a halt.
"It put things in perspective," Duke student Jasmine Swaniker said. "I mean, the game is important, we're all excited about it. But we want to respect the tragedy they've gone through."
Duke graduate students handed out light-blue and white ribbons – Tar Heel colors – to every Blue Devil fan attending Saturday's showdown.
Several local flower shops donated the materials for the ribbons, and one shop made some of the ribbons.
Student organizers estimated that they handed out between 5,000 and 6,000 ribbons.
"It's not like we hate each other," Duke student Matthew Short said. "So if one of theirs goes down, we take it just as bad as they would if one of ours went down."
In lieu of flowers, Carson's family asked for donations to be sent to:
Clarke County Foundation for Excellence in Public Education
P.O. Box 1708
Athens, GA 30603
UNC has also created a fund to perpetuate Carson's legacy of service to the university. Checks with "Eve Marie Carson Memorial Fund" in the memo line can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 309
Chapel Hill, NC 27514