Father of slain ODU student: ‘The numbers caught up with us and it’s our son this time’

Posted at 6:41 PM, Feb 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-27 18:41:22-05

Norfolk, Va. - Paul Johnson's parents called him the loving antagonist. They were excited about his future at ODU, the school his mother also attended.

"He was a great person, and I don't want people to forget about him,” said his mother.

They were aware of the recent violent attacks near campus and constantly talked to all of their children about being safe keeping an eye on their surroundings.

“Every time I picked up the newspaper and read about a young individual who has been murdered, I've always picked that up and said, ‘You know Therese, this could be our son,’” his dad admitted. “And all of a sudden, the numbers caught up with us and it's our son this time.”

The 20-year-old ODU math major was killed in a brutal attack just a block away from his off-campus apartment.

Twenty-one-year-old David Grimm has been charged with second-degree murder. Twenty-year-old Christopher Johnson is charged with misdemeanor assault.

Neither of them are ODU students.

Paul's parents say he didn't know the suspects.

They say they're not blaming the university, and they're praising police for making the arrests so quickly.

The Johnsons didn't want to spend their time talking about the suspects. They instead wanted to focus on their son’s memory.

“Faith. Faith in the goodness of human kind and in God. Because I couldn't be sitting here smiling talking to you today if I didn't have that same faith that he's in heaven," says Paul's father.


‘He died a hero’: Friends and family hold vigil for ODU student Paul Johnson

UPDATE: Men accused of attacking ODU student appear in court