Candlelight vigil honoring the life of Jacob Ray

Students line around the fountain at WCU’s central campus to have a moment of silence for Jacob Ray on Oct. 11. Photo by Hailee McCraw

Western Carolina University students and community members commemorated the life of Jacob Ray, who died after being shot in the university area around midnight on Friday, Oct. 6.

Ray died on Monday, Oct. 9 as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. The crime that was reported near Tuck’s Tavern left two Charlotte residents arrested for attempted murder.

Ray’s club soccer teammates organized a candlelight vigil on Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. at the fountain on WCU’s central campus. Students, community members, Ray’s family and closest friends gathered around to share stories of the great memories they had with him. Ray shared a deep bond with his teammates at WCU.

WCU student Jacob Alexander Ray of Hendersonville was was injured in the incident and died on Monday, Oct. 9. Photo from his father, Victor Ray, in a Facebook post.

“We were more than friends, we were brothers,” said Josh Norris, member of the club soccer team.
Norris invited the mass of people to join him in the Lord’s prayer after they paid their respect with a moment of silence. Candles were arranged in the center of the fountain area to form a “08” to represent Ray’s jersey number. His teammates also presented his family with a framed jersey and other gifts as a token of their love and respect for their friend. Other friends of Ray’s spoke of their fondest memories of him. Blake Lyda recalled meeting Ray in the fourth grade and hanging out with him every weekend after that.

“I remember his smile the most. I don’t know if it was because so good and white, but he had the best smile and that’s what I’ll always remember,” said Lyda.

The University informed that on Friday, Oct. 13, Jacob Ray’s family will be receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Hendersonville, NC.  The funeral service will be on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. at Forest Lawn Funeral Home.