Dozens of somber college students encircled homicide victim Jerid Sturman-Camyn’s photo Monday night during a vigil in his honor outside of an Eastern Washington University fraternity house.
The remembrance of the EWU sophomore and Sigma Phi Epsilon member began with candle lighting and a prayer, then those inside the tight circle were given a chance to share their thoughts.
“Did we remember to thank you enough for the … sacrifices, laughter, encouragement?” said one of Sturman-Camyn’s fraternity brothers. “We hope you knew all along.”
Sturman-Camyn was dragged to his death Saturday night in rural Pend Oreille County following a confrontation at a hunting camp. Wendell Sinn Jr., 45, could face murder or manslaughter charges for the 20-year-old’s death.
“It’s a tragic loss,” said Tyler Cline, Sigma Phi Epsilon member.
Nearly 150 students attended the memorial. Between the short speeches, a chorus of sobs and sniffles could be heard. Sincere expressions graced their faces.
A garage spotlight lit up the 3-foot tall picture of Sturman-Camyn taken during a fishing trip. The smile beaming from the picture was described as “welcoming.”
As classmates spoke, Sturman-Camyn’s personality came alive.
His fraternity brothers described him as having a heart of gold; he liked to talk a lot; selfless and a guy who was always checking to make sure his friends were doing all right. Sturman-Camyn, whose nickname is “Bubba,” was heavily involved in martial arts and combat sport fighting. He belonged to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club of Spokane.
He was supposed to compete this weekend in the Spokane Showdown at the club, Cline said.
Those who knew Sturman-Camyn admired his discipline and athleticism.
“Jerid’s spirit lives on,” a fraternity brother said.
EWU President Rodolfo Arévalo also attended the vigil. He said he didn’t know Sturman-Camyn, but he wanted the students to know that the university, and he personally, would be there to support them in their time of loss.
The new university president has had a particularly rough Thanksgiving holiday.
In a separate incident early Thursday, 20-year-old Ryan J. Emery, another EWU student, died after fleeing from a Washington State Trooper and crashing down a 200-foot embankment.
Emery fled as the trooper was trying to take him into custody for allegedly driving drunk.
EWU has counseling services available for any students or faculty who want them.
Evan Buelt, president of the Associated Students of EWU, said: “the students are just trying to understand what is going on. We honor both lives of these students,” he said. “The students and entire university are in support of these students and primarily their families.”