SAVANNAH, Ga. - Even as police search for his killer, friends and family of slain Savannah State student Chris Starks are remembering the 22-year old as a natural born leader who led by example.
“He was a fun-loving kid,” said his uncle, Collier Starks. “And he was raised right.”
Police said someone shot and killed Chris Starks at the Savannah State Student Union. Collier Starks believes the shooting was part of a robbery, and his nephew was hit by a ricocheting bullet.
"Although we would've loved for this to be a different way, we would've loved for the bullet to have gone straight through and not ricocheting and piercing his heart, which is what we heard," said Collier Starks. "But the reality of the matter is, it was his time, and God is too wise to make mistakes."
The violence at Savannah State is adding up. In 2013, a man was shot and killed on campus. Last year, there was a shooting at student housing.
One student says the latest shooting took the life of one of his closest friends.
“I just spoke to him a couple days ago. He was asking about the little flag football tournament they have here at Savannah State,” said Dorion McMickens.
Chris Starks played football for Miller Grove High School in DeKalb County until his graduation in 2012. His former high school football coach said Chris Starks was a team leader.
"But he was a leader in different ways, because he had great grades, but he didn't brag about having great grades," said Coach Damien Wimes. "He was talented, but he didn't brag about his talent. He was just raised well."
Chris Starks signed a scholarship with Appalachian State and played football there until he blew out his knee. He transferred to Savannah State last year hoping to play there once his injury healed. His uncle said he also pursued a career in music and fashion design.
Starks' grandfather and several uncles are church pastors, and Collier Starks said Chris was all about church and football.
"He had a relationship with God," said Collier Starks. "Not by his resume, but he knew God from a relationship."
Students who knew Starks say his death will always be on their minds, and the tragedy has brought them closer together.
“I just want to make sure people understand that this isn’t the culture of Savannah State,” said student Gregory Brown.
The university has deployed grief counselors, and friends of Chris Starks are putting together a memorial.
The family has not announced any funeral plans.
A "gofundme" account has be set up through assistance from the local high school Starks' attended. The name its under is: "Funds to Assist The Starks Family."