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Shepherd's brothers

University gathers to remember two slain

University gathers to remember two slain

September 07, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - Linda Tate, a former English instructor at Shepherd University, said she has been thinking a lot lately about Logan P. Pennington's final project in her Ethnic Literature of New York City class.

Logan Pennington created a digital story to Lou Reed's song "Dirty Boulevard," and his creativity struck Tate.

The ending lines of the song are "I want to fly, fly, fly away, fly, fly, fly away," Tate recalled.

To blend with the lines, Logan added beautiful images of flight in his story, Tate said.

"He was hard-working, bright, perceptive, a real joy as a student," Tate said through an e-mail that was read to an estimated 500 people during a candlelight vigil held for brothers Logan and Benjamin Pennington Wednesday night at Shepherd University.

"I hope Logan and Ben have flown away to a place of peace," said Tate, who now lives in Colorado.

Students, faculty and other members of the community stood in a grassy area in the Midway on the East Campus, their faces lit by candles they held in their hands.

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They listed to speakers who addressed the crowd from a stage.

Logan P. Pennington, 26, and Benjamin M. Pennington, 24, were killed when their father shot them in a parking lot next to Thacher Hall about 2 p.m. Saturday. Their father, Douglas Pennington, 49, then shot himself to death with a single gunshot to the chest.

The triple shooting shocked the community and police have yet to release a motive for the deaths.

Shepherd's Student Government Association sponsored the candlelight vigil for Logan and Benjamin Pennington at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Speakers pondered the fragility of life and the sureness of death, called on God for peace, asked what lessons can be taken from the deaths of the students and how the college community can move on.

Student Government Association President Nicole Krause read a poem she wrote about life and death for the vigil.

Krause said death comes in many forms, whether it is a dying leaf falling from a tree or the sinking sun which shuts out a day.

"Death dances in the wind," Krause said.

Shepherd University President David L. Dunlop asked a question that has been raised by many.

Why?

Dunlop said he raised the question not so much from a motive point of view, but why such things have to happen in the world.

"I must apologize. I don't have the answer to that question," Dunlop said.

Dunlop said the deaths can serve as a wake-up call to students to reassess their real priorities in life.

Once those are determined, the trivial matters can be dropped, Dunlop said.

"We will be better for it," Dunlop said.

Rudy Bropleh, a minister at Asbury United Methodist Church near Shepherdstown and adjunct professor of economics at Shepherd, said he was in Atlanta over the weekend and was talking to a friend just before the shootings occurred.

Bropleh said his friend was asking him if Bropleh was still living in Baltimore. Bropleh said he was not, and had been living in this town known as Shepherdstown, a nice town that offered a slower pace of life, friendly people and clean air.

"I said people leave their keys in their cars. It's a safe place," Bropleh.

Bropleh said it was soon after that conversation that he heard of the shootings.

"But I believe that Shepherd is still a safe place," Bropleh said.

Bropleh said he still believes Shepherd is a good place for students to build good relationships with others and he encouraged everyone to remain hopeful.

"Together, as a community, we will get through this," Bropleh said.

West Virginia State Police Trooper K.W. Martin said he reviewed the contents of the Penningtons' dorm room at Shepherd to determine if there was any "precursor" evidence, such as a journal or dairy, that would help explain a motive for the shootings.

Martin said Wednesday that no such evidence was found. Martin said the lack of any such evidence was not expected to complicate the investigation and that state police eventually would release more information about a motive in the shootings.

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