Candlelight vigil tonight for Demitri Hampton

TRACEY CRUMP COURTESY PHOTO | Demitri Hampton celebrates receiving his diploma from Riverhead High School during the school’s 2010 graduation ceremony. Mr. Hampton was killed Sunday after confronting burglars in his home.

As friends mourn the loss of the outgoing 21-year-old college student killed Sunday morning in a Flanders home invasion, a candlelight vigil and memorial services have been planned to honor the young man.

And the victim’s family members say they plan to set up a scholarship in his honor in the coming days.

Riverhead High School will host a candlelight vigil for Demitri Hampton, a 2010 graduate of the school, at 6 p.m. Thursday. The vigil is open to all, said Theresa Drozd, one of Mr. Hampton’s former teachers at the school.

The memorial will be held in front of the high school and mourners are asked to bring their own candles. A deacon from Demitri’s church will speak at the vigil, and a member of the church will sing, said district superintendent Nancy Carney.

“Any death is a tragedy, particularly one that is as untimely and premature as that of Demitri Hampton,” Ms. Carney said. “My heart goes out to his family and his friends for their loss.”

Mr. Hampton was very involved with Council for Unity at the school, Ms. Drozd said, and was a member of the basketball and track teams. Ms. Drozd said Mr. Hampton always made those around him laugh.

“Whenever you were around him you couldn’t be angry because he always put a smile on your face,” she said. “Everybody loved him. You had to love him.”

Mr. Hampton was a student at Suffolk County Community College, his family said. He was majoring in criminal justice and was planning to graduate in the spring, then pursue more studies or join the air force.

School officials say Mr. Hampton was involved on campus as well, serving as a mentor and role model to young men through the Black Male Network, a student group devoted to encouraging high schoolers to go to college.

His service and dedication made him a perfect example of what school administrators wanted in a student, said Evon Walters, executive dean and campus CEO for the eastern campus.

“Demitri was a reflection of what we try to articulate on a day-to-day basis,” Mr. Walters said.

The college will hold a memorial service for Mr. Hampton at 11 a.m. Monday at the Eastern Campus. The ceremony will include video and photo collages of Mr. Hampton and will let students mourn and share their memories of the young man, officials said.

At the same time, Mr. Hampton’s family is planning to use savings to start a scholarship fund in his name.

Jamal Davis, Mr. Hampton’s older brother, said the family is working on the scholarship this week, adding that he hopes to have the program finalized in the next few days.

Read more about  Demitri Hampton’s life in this week’s Riverhead News-Review.