Students and friends gather together during a candlelight vigil in memory of Jonathon Bennett, who died after he was impaled early Wednesday morning, at the East Carolina Student Memorial Gardens on April 25, 2013. (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)
By Jane Dail
Friday, April 26, 2013
Several hundred people gathered on campus Thursday night to honor the memory of an East Carolina University student killed in an accidental fall.
The candlelight vigil in memory of Jonathon Scott Bennett, 21, who died after he fell from a tree onto a metal post, was hosted by friends at the Student Memorial Garden on ECU’s main campus.
Among those who participated were friends Bennett knew through several campus organizations, including Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Student Ambassadors and ECU Intramural Sports.
Brandon Pittman, a fraternity brother of Bennett, said the outpouring of support and love from others around has been invaluable and needed at this time.
“Tonight, I wear my letters and my blue knowing that the only person that won’t be wearing them was the exact definition and perfect representation of a true TKE man through and through,” Pittman said. “I am and always will be one of Jonathon Bennett’s brothers and closest friends.”
Bruce Pittman, also a TKE member and a student ambassador, described Bennett as a confident and outgoing man who will forever be missed.
“The all-encompassing sadness acts to reaffirm both the permanence and the depth of the fingerprints Jonathon left on each of our lives,” he said.
Those hosting the vigil played one of Bennett’s favorite songs, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. Many sang along and swayed to the music.
Bennett’s family attended the vigil and were seated toward the front of the vigil, surrounded by supporters.
Bennett was studying geographic information science and technology. He was from Wilson but lived at University Manor apartment on East 10th Street, according to police records.
Bennett was on a fallen tree in woods behind the apartments about 1 a.m. Wednesday when he fell. Police said he and four friends had been drinking.
A leasing manager at the apartment complex on Wednesday said University Manor would investigate the incident. Requests for further comments were unsuccessful.
Lt. Richard Allsbrook of Greenville Police Department code enforcement said Thursday he did not know for certain who owned the property where the fallen tree was located, though he said it was “clearly undeveloped land.”
He visited the site Wednesday to determine if code violations existed.
The University Manor property belongs to Greenville Associates LLC, according property records, with an address in Birmingham, Ala.
The city of Greenville owns land immediately to the north to the Tar River.
Pittman said that ECU has unified in remembering Bennett and mourning his loss.
“We are a Pirate nation,” he said. “When one of us falls, we all feel it.
We all enter the darkness together … But I know how to banish the darkness, Just think of Jonathon’s smile and radiance of his disposition.”
Contact Jane Dail at email@example.com or 252-329-9585.
via The Daily Reflector.