NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — A beloved athlete from the Lowcountry was laid to rest on Wednesday.
Lavel Davis Jr., 20, was among three University of Virginia athletes who were shot and killed after returning from an off-campus field trip on the night of Nov. 13.
Hundreds of family, friends and members of the UVA football team gathered for a ‘Celebration of Life’ at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday morning. The interment took place at Bethel AME Church in Ridgeville.
U.S. Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, along with around a dozen family members and friends, spoke at the funeral.
“Tyler’s life was a life well lived,” Clyburn said. “His athletic and academic accomplishments were enviable. His service to his church and community were admirable. His relationships with his family and friends were legendary. Not many people, no matter how long they may live, will get to be as highly regarded on so many fronts as did Tyler.”
Davis was known as Tyler to his loved ones.
“Tyler’s spirit was as bright as his beautiful smile. His heart was as big as he was long. He was kind. He was compassionate. He was silly. He was smart,” said a close family friend.
The Ridgeville, South Carolina, native played football at Woodland High School in Dorchester County. He was a wide receiver at the University of Virginia and was preparing to “fulfill his dreams of being drafted into the NFL,” according to his obituary.
“What would happen after you got a chance to speak with him and visit with him, you would remember who he was, how he made you feel, how selfless he was,” said one of Davis’ UVA coaches. “He loved his family and he was so proud of where he was from. So proud.”
Those who knew Davis said he meant a lot to the Ridgeville community and would always lend a helping hand whenever he could. “That’s just what he wanted to do – be community-oriented,” said Ridgeville Police Chief Quinton Joyner.
Peers described the football standout as a caring, inspirational person with a bright future. His loved ones say they strive to be more like Davis and that his kindness, infectious smile, and selfless dedication will live on through each of them.
“I think he would invite us to hold fast to what we already know and though it’s a challenge, to stand strong. I think he would tell us to keep loving, to keep trying, to keep trusting, to keep believing, and to keep growing, and that heaven which he’s part of, is cheering us on,” said another UVA coach.
“Everyone loved Lavel,” Selena Clark, a close friend of Davis, said. “He never had a bad bone in his body. I’m sure everybody here could say anything good about him and everything like that. Definitely one of the faces of Ridgeville; everybody knew him.”
Fellow athletes D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler were also killed in that shooting.