Enthusiastic, caring, funny, happy, and dedicated — all words used to describe University of Kentucky student Jonathan Krueger, who was shot to death early Friday on East Maxwell Street near Transylvania Park.
"The world lost a really good guy today," said UK student Morgan Gebert, who was Krueger's freshman roommate. "He would do anything for anyone. Even to the point of annoyance, he would try to help out and make your day better."
Gebert said that Krueger was very social, always having friends over. "Living with him was crazy ... he loved to have fun and help others and be very involved with every single thing he could be. He was always sincere, and living with him was great."
Perhaps 300 people attended a candlelight vigil Friday night at UK's Newman Center to remember Krueger. Friends greeted each other with hugs and backslaps in the lobby as a bell tolled somberly outside.
Never miss a local story.
At the start of the service, Kristina Alexander, sweetheart of the Epsilon Omicron Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, read a Henry Scott Holland poem. It began:
"Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped into the next room...
Whatever we were to each other
That we still are...."
Matt Dampier, pastor of Christian Student Fellowship, took note of the many people who attended,
"One of the ways you measure a life is the ripples it leaves behind," Dampier said.
Five days before his death, Krueger turned 22. He posted on Facebook, "Thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday today, I can't believe I'm 22 already! Looking ahead there's so much to be happy about and if this next year is anything like this last year, then it will be another one to remember!"
Krueger was the photo editor for the UK student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, and was set to be the paper's ad manager in the fall.
"He would always go above and beyond," said Morgan Eads, the paper's editor. "We always called him the annoying little brother. He was always joking around."
"Jonathan covered all the basketball tournaments this year and had a great time," said Chris Poore, Krueger's adviser at the Kernel. "He did really good work. It's a hard environment, especially for a student who's doing it for the first time."
In comments to the Kernel, mother Mary Krueger said her son loved working for the paper.
"I opened up the paper this morning and saw he had one last picture in. He loved what he did down there, and I know it was a big part of his life."
Jonathan Krueger was proud of his Kernel work, "but he was also proud of his family," Poore said. Krueger was from Perrysburg, Ohio, a small town near Toledo, where his father ran a large greenhouse.
In high school, Krueger was a varsity basketball player for Maumee Valley Country Day School.
"This is such a tragedy," Gary Boehm, head of the school, said in an interview with Mike Sigov at The Blade newspaper in Toledo. "Everybody loved Jonathan ... Jonathan was a very friendly, outgoing, happy person. He was a strong student, a terrific athlete, and a very good teammate."
At UK, Krueger was a junior in the College of Communications and Information. He was majoring in Integrated Strategic Communication and was working on minors in economics and digital media and design.
"I really appreciated him for being such a great listener and having such a great attitude," said David Stephenson, a UK instructor who recently had Krueger in his multimedia class and worked with him at the Kernel.
Stephenson described Krueger as the perfect student: talented, happy, eager, and smart. "Clearly, I will miss him," he said.
Krueger studied abroad in London and Dublin over winter break as part of a class about branding and promotion of sports.
"He was brilliant and delightful and creative and beloved by his 29 travel peers," said Kakie Urch, one of the two UK professors who taught the course. A sports fan, Krueger was able to visit Chelsea Football Club and Wimbledon, Urch said.
"He wrote a brilliant final paper about the history of Wimbledon for the class in which he demonstrated the subtlety of the branding of Wimbledon," Urch said.
Krueger was "absolutely a person that anyone would be proud to have as a son," Urch said.
Krueger was also a member of the Epsilon Omnicron chapter of Beta Theta Pi. The fraternity posted a statement to Facebook.
"Jonathan was an active Beta during his tenure in the Epsilon Omicron Chapter and had a way of putting a smile on everyone's face, every single day," the statement said. "Jonathan could be found pursuing his dreams outside of Beta on the sidelines of a number of University of Kentucky sports. His passion for photography and athletics was great; his love for people was even greater.
"His passing comes as an incredible loss to all who knew him and to our university as a whole. The outreach we've witnessed from this campus and community is heartwarming, a true testament to the amazing support system we have at this university. We ask that you continue to keep Jonathan's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers as we celebrate his life and honor his great legacy."