Vigil to be held for young Cobb man who could ‘brighten room’
by Lindsay Field
August 21, 2012 12:20 AM | 8112 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ayokunle Lumpkin, left, played in 70 matches and scored two game-winning goals during his four-year career at Georgia State University.<br>Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
Ayokunle Lumpkin, left, played in 70 matches and scored two game-winning goals during his four-year career at Georgia State University.
Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
MARIETTA — The family of a 2006 Sprayberry High graduate who was shot to death early Sunday morning will host a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in Marietta to honor their loved one.

Ayokunle Lumpkin, 23, died of a gunshot wound to the chest at Grady Memorial Hospital after being shot around 1:45 a.m. Sunday near a home in the 200 block of Milton Avenue in Atlanta, said Sgt. Curtis Davenport with Atlanta Police.

“(Lumpkin) was attending a gathering at the house,” Davenport said in an email Monday. “The shooting was the result of a verbal altercation involving a traffic accident.”

Police found the vehicle of the suspected shooter but no arrests have been made, and police are not releasing the physical description of the suspect.

Lumpkin’s older sister Tolu has since organized a candlelight vigil at Sprayberry High on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

“I want people that knew him to come meet us in the parking lot, candles in hand … we’ll walk from the parking lot to the field and surround the track. We’ll get everybody to say the greatest memories they have of him and at the end … my sister and I will close it up,” Tolu said. “I know he’ll like it and he’ll be smiling down because he’ll appreciate it.”

The family has not made funeral arrangements yet.

Tolu said that Ayokunle, who was fondly known by friends and family as “Kunle” or “Kool-Aid,” was “goofy” and always making others laugh.

“All the pictures we have of him, he was just doing something crazy,” Tolu said. “He always had a big smile on his face and could brighten up a room!”

Tolu also said that while her brother enjoyed joking around with people, he was extremely reliable.

“He was always there for anybody if anybody ever needed them. He was that one friend you could always count on,” she said.

When asked how her family is doing, Tolu said, “Everybody has moments, just like I’m having my moments, but as tragic as it is, there’s no reason why my mom should have to bury her son.”

Cathy Raney is president of the Soccer Booster Club at Sprayberry High School and her older children played soccer with him.

Lumpkin, she said, "was a very talented soccer player and we always enjoyed watching him play.

He will always be remembered for his leadership and contribution both on and off the field. The SHS Soccer family offers our deepest sympathies to his family. We will miss him dearly."

Ayokunle is survived by his parents, Jackie and Emmanuel Lumpkin of Marietta, his oldest sister Tolu, and his two younger siblings, TJ, who is an 11th-grader at Sprayberry, and Dami, who is a ninth-grader at Sprayberry.

“There’s a reason for this to happen and it’s beyond me to understand but I have to be strong for my family,” she said. “I have to be positive because you can’t be mad. It’s a cruel world and you don’t know why people do what they do but there’s a reason for everything.”

Tolu said she learned about her brother’s death from her mother in a phone call. She was on vacation in Puerto Rico with a friend when he was shot.

Ayokunle graduated from Georgia State last December, where he studied psychology and played soccer for four years.

“When his season ended, it was hard … you could see that in the pictures in his final game,” she said. “He enjoyed playing for the school and he was a proud representation of what a Panther should be. Soccer was his passion.”

According to his biography on the Georgia State athletics website, Ayokunle’s father was a professional soccer player in Nigeria.

Additionally, the website states that Ayokunle, who wore No. 22 on the soccer field, finished his career with 10 goals and three assists for 23 career points. He also saw action in 70 matches and 4,572 minutes, notched two game-winning goals in his career and took 86 shots.
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