Norfolk candlelight vigil honors local boxing legend Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker

Posted at 2:50 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 23:33:15-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The Norfolk community came together Tuesday night to honor Hampton Roads native Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker with a candlelight vigil.

The event was held at P.B. Young Elementary School at 543 E. Olney Road.

The 55-year-old Olympic gold medal winner and four-weight world champion was tragically killed Sunday night while crossing the street in Virginia Beach.

Whitaker's cousin, Sabrina Bradley says, "Everyone loved him! This is where he's from - he originated from here."

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Councilman Paul Riddick, Delegate Jay Jones, Councilwoman Angelia Williams Graves, Councilman Michael Berlucchi, Councilman Aaron Rouse, the Honorable Lakeesha “Klu” Atkinson and other dignitaries were at the event to honor Whitaker. Amber Payton of 103 JAMZ, radio personality and relative of the late legend, was also in attendance.

"There are only a few people that put Norfolk on the map, and Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker put the City of Norfolk on the map," said Mayor Alexander.

Sweat Pea's family wants his legacy to live on and to continue to inspire kids in the community.

Young boxer Kyrie Brown-Zeller is from Portsmouth. He attended the vigil to pay his respects to the man who inspired him.

"He was one of those top champions of the world that represented Virginia, and that inspired me as a young kid even today," said Brown-Zeller.