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Community holds vigil for Wingate University student-athlete fatally struck by train

WINGATE, N.C. — Wingate University and the community held a prayer vigil Thursday night to remember a student-athlete who died after being struck by a CSX train earlier in the week.

Incoming freshman Kyle Honore was killed, according to a tweet by the university. The incident happened just before 10:45 p.m. Tuesday near the entrance of the university.

Officials said Honore was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

“Wingate mourns the loss of freshman student-athlete Kyle Honore. We send our prayers, love, and support to Kyle’s family, friends, and loved ones,” the school said in a tweet.

Honore played for the university’s men’s basketball team. He was set to start his first semester in two days.

“Kyle was a big personality who could light up the room and make friends quickly,” associate head basketball coach Marcus Kirkland said in a statement. “Kyle was a great addition to our team and showed great promise coming out of high school as a four-year varsity player and three-year starter as a point guard. His presence will be missed by a lot of people.”

A prayer vigil was held Thursday night on campus at 8 p.m. Thursday, which was the same day students started the fall semester.

Senior Vontrez Roberts said he and Honore bonded over their strong faith.

“(I) got to know him and his family well, practiced with him one day,” Roberts told Channel 9. “We (were) actually eating at the cafeteria one day -- and me and him and my friend Josh and another one of our teammates. We were just in there talking about basketball, weights and just getting to start the season.”

Roberts said he invited Honore to an event before the tragedy happened.

“I was telling him all about church and stuff, because he asked me a question,” Roberts said. “He was like, ‘When does Bible study start?’ Just hearing him say that. That just let me know like, how strong of a faith he had in the Lord. How hard-working he was. How eager he was.”

This vigil was hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“It’s hard to reconcile the loss of Kyle Honore, with the hopeful beginnings of a new academic year,” said university president Dr. Rhett Brown on Wednesday.

Authorities said there is no evidence of foul play.

“We want to remind Wingate University Students and the general public to be safe and always use the railway’s designated crossings,” officials with the Wingate Police Department said. “Not only is being on the railroad property anywhere other than a designated crossing dangerous, but it’s also illegal trespassing.”

In a statement given to Channel 9, a CSX spokesperson said it was supporting local police as they investigated the death.

“At CSX safety is our highest priority in the communities we serve,” they said in part. “We remind the public that any activity on or near a rail line can be dangerous.

A Gofundme page has been set up to donate to Honore’s memorial service. You can find it at this link.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Truth hurts’: Team discusses Wingate University’s namesake that has tie to slavery)

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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