‘It was definitely a terrible way to die:’ Vigil held for Florida Tech student killed by police

Melbourne police said Alhaji Sow was threatening students with a knife

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Students at Florida Tech University in Melbourne held a vigil Tuesday night following a deadly officer-involved shooting last Friday.

The university said it wanted to bring students together for support.

Anya Johnson, 20, said she was friends with Alhaji Sow, 18, who was killed by law enforcement.

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“I’ve heard a lot of negative things. I personally didn’t think anything negative of him because I mean that was clearly not him,” Johnson said. “I knew Alhaji. He was a good friend and I just find it so hard to think that he, how much potential this world lost and all the chances he lost.”

The school held a prayer service and a moment of silence.

Melbourne police said Sow was threatening students with a knife just before 11 p.m. Friday night. Investigators with both the Melbourne Police Department and campus security fired their weapons at Sow, killing him at the scene.

Before officers were able to locate Sow, a shelter in place order was given. Students were also told to avoid both Roberts and Campbell halls.

“It was definitely a terrible way to die and I feel bad for the police officers who ended up shooting him because that’s something they have to live with as well,” Johnson said.

Melbourne police said no one else was seriously injured.

Florida Tech University said it will conduct its own investigation into what happened, once both the Melbourne Police Department and the Florida Department of Law enforcement complete their investigations.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.