Slain Howard University Student Is Mourned

Source: Stefanie Dazio and Dana Hedgpeth / The Washington Post

Friends could count on Omar Sykes. For a smile, a hug, an attentive ear, he was always open to helping others.

Sykes, a 22-year-old rising senior and business marketing major at Howard University, was shot and killed Thursday night just outside the college’s Northwest Washington campus in what police said was a random robbery attempt. A second student was struck with a handgun and is recovering.

Friends and family were shocked by the death of the community service-oriented young man, who was a leader of Howard’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a coed service fraternity. He was also a member of the Noble Black Society, an organization founded at Howard that defines itself on its Web site as a “family oriented entertainment collective focused on the purpose of Redefining Black.”

“Just to think something like this could happen is just unheard of,” said Lance Coleman, a 22-year-old Howard student and a close friend of Sykes’s. “He was probably the most well-liked guy in my life. He was always about helping people. . . . The world just lost someone pretty amazing.”

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