College junior Victor Vinh Charles Le, remembered by his classmates for his determination and caring nature, died last week. He was 20.
As reported in a Sept. 18 Wheel article, a Gwinnett County police officer shot and killed Le last Wednesday night after Le allegedly pointed a BB gun at the officer, Gwinnett police say.
Le, who was from Lilburn, Ga., was planning on majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology (NBB) and served as a freshman legislator on the College Council. He was a member of the Karma Bhangra Team and a student representative on the Tobacco-Free Task Force, which launched the University’s tobacco-free policy in January.
College sophomore Brittney Toppin, one of Le’s close friends during elementary and middle school, wrote in an email to the Wheel that Le took academics very seriously and loved spending time with family and friends.
Toppin also described Le as “goofy and cheerful.”
“[He was] extremely caring and aware of others’ feelings … [Le] was very full of life,” she wrote. “He was going somewhere and doing something with his life. Everyone he came in contact was impacted in a positive way.”
Le’s peers say they are devastated by the tragedy. Toppin wrote that she was both shocked and hurt by Le’s death in a way “that neither words nor tears could properly express.”
College sophomore Alexandria Mitchell wrote in an email to the Wheel she is “deeply distraught and confused and upset at the circumstances.”
“He was going to go very far because he had the drive and determination to make it somewhere,” Mitchell wrote. “His life was cut way too short, and he will be sorely missed … He was very helpful despite his own struggles. He was there for those who needed him whenever. There’s no mistaking that he was going somewhere in life.”
Mitchell and Toppin both noted that Le aspired to be a neurosurgeon.
Le joined Karma – Emory’s Indian Bhangra dance team – during his freshman year. According to College senior Anisha Chandra, Le took Bhangra very seriously and was always working to improve.
Chandra said Le was interested in Indian culture and enjoyed Bhangra and Hindi films. Le wanted to join the dance team even though he had never danced Bhangra before, Chandra added.
She said Le was quiet but also “very caring in nature” and determined to continue practicing even when he was injured.
“He always had good instincts in terms of dancing, but apart from dancing, he was just a good person in general,” Chandra said. “He set the bar not in just terms of dancing, but in terms of character as well as of the team. He loved dancing, he was always his own biggest critic.”
The last time the team saw Le was at their Tuesday practice. But even on that day, Chandra said, Le’s large smile put a smile on her own face.
Karma dedicated its performance to Le at the Latino Student Organization’s (LSO) Heritage Month Kickoff Event last Friday by wearing all black and honoring him in an announcement.
A service for Le was held on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. at Wages and Sons Funeral Home in Lawrenceville, Ga.
– By Karishma Mehrotra
Correction (9/22 at 4:30 p.m.): This article originally stated that Le was an NBB major. However, while Le had been planning on majoring in NBB, he had never officially declared.