ALERT: Police and SWAT team engaged in standoff in Chesterfield neighborhood

Men accused in deadly ODU student attack appear in court

NORFOLK, Va. (WTVR) — Two men accused of brutally beating an Old Dominion University student and Varina High School graduate appeared in court on Thursday.

Men arrested for ODU student's deathDavid William Grimm Jr., 21, and  Christopher Chase Johnson, 20, were arrested earlier this week and charged in connection with the death of 20-year-old Paul Johnson. The sophomore died Sunday after police said he was hit in the head less than a block from his off-campus apartment on 48th street early that morning.

Grimm Jr., of the 3200 block of Lost Pond Court in Triangle, was charged with second-degree murder. Johnson, of the 3000 block of Seminole Road in Woodbridge was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Grimm Jr., whose arraignment was continued until March 4, is being held without bond at the Norfolk City Jail. Johnson is scheduled to appear in court again on May 12.

School officials said the men, who are from northern Virginia, are not ODU students.

Remembering Paul Johnson

ODU students packed together in the cold, with candles lit in memory and celebration of their friend on Wednesday night.

“He had this unique sense of sarcasm and whit that will never be replicated. He would always use these stupid, silly phrases that were just hilarious,” Joey Thiel, a friend of Johnson’s who organized the vigil told WTKR.

Friends said Johnson’s fun-loving personality won’t soon be forgotten as his final good deed was donating his organs.

“He died a hero,” Thiel said. “While Paul will always be in our hearts and minds, he has also enabled others to live in his stead.”

‘The numbers caught up with us and it’s our son this time’

Paul Johnson’s parents told WTKR that they were aware of recent violent attacks near ODU and warned their children to always keep an eye on their surroundings.

“Every time I picked up the newspaper and read about a young individual who has been murdered, I’ve always picked that up and said, ‘You know Therese, this could be our son,’” his dad admitted. “And all of a sudden, the numbers caught up with us and it’s our son this time.”

Johnson’s parents said he did not know the suspect accused in the brutal attack and thanked police for their quick work with the arrests.

The Johnsons did not want to waste time talking about the men accused in the attack. Instead, Johnson’s parents focused on sharing memories of their son calling him the loving antagonist who was were excited about his future at ODU.

When asked how they were holding up, the Johnsons credited their strong faith.

“Faith in the goodness of human kind and in God. Because I couldn’t be sitting here smiling talking to you today if I didn’t have that same faith that he’s in heaven,” Johnson’s father said.

Additionally, Johnson’s family released the following statement about the beloved 20-year-old: 

“Paul was one of the cast of characters in our family, and we love each of them for who they are. We have always enjoyed every opportunity to share in their lives. Like a lot of other college kids, Paul was hard working and trying to pay his way through school. He was full of hopes and dreams and great expectations, and he had the ability to realize those dreams. As parents, we were very happy with the direction of Paul’s life had taken at Old Dominion.

We really appreciate all of the people who cared enough to step forward and help identify the the two suspects, and we also appreciate how ODU and Norfolk Police briefed us every step of the way. We had no doubt there would be arrests in short order.

We underestimated what Paul meant to his friends, and the sincere compassion and outpouring from the student community was exponentially larger than anything I ever expected. This an international community, particularly where Paul lived and everyone who has come up to us and talked have genuinely cared about Paul, not just some appearance. I am so glad Paul had a chance to experience this environment.”

A memorial service for Johnson was held in Northern Virginia Friday morning.

20 comments

    • arthur moore

      thanks shelly guess i’m not the only one to notice the flood of comments when pics of blacks arrested for suspected crimes are displayed but when pics of suspected criminals are white………..no comments…hhmmm very interesting

      • Manalishi.

        Soooo,,,Did you breath a sigh of relief and say,,”finally,,, a white people did something”?? Get over the fake drama and be an equal opportunity critic.

      • Shelly

        Finally a white person did something? You can’t be that stupid to insinuate that white people rarely commit crimes.

      • Live evil

        Really! “A white people did something” haha,use correct English please…It’s funny how a race card is pulled when it is not even the issue here. Sorry manalisha but the statistics speak for themselves. A young man lost his life, white,black etc. Its very unfortunate.

      • Lisa

        People, the guys that committed this senseless crime were WHITE and not from this area; AND, yes, race does matter in this case because it is frequently referred to that the surrounding community (mostly Blacks) is committing these crimes on the ODU students – this is why there was secrecy in releasing these mug shots. They wanted us to believe the hype. There have been plenty of incidences were Black suspect’s photos were released to the public JUST on suspicion alone. I smell a rat in this case. AND, even after an arrest was made while the story was being broadcasted (meaning that they already had the probable cause), their mug shots were never posted to the public on the news – however, plenty of Black suspects photos are posted even if there is no proof to make an arrest or indictment. We are NOT falling for that excuse. Go Figure! Anyone that disagrees must be WHITE and offended by what I am posting. Reality is biting at them (a hit dog will holler)!

  • Rosa Johnson

    as a parent and grand parent, if thes kids only could grasp a fraction of the pain a parent goes thru when their child is killed for some reason so trivial , its not even worth a pot of beans. what could he have said or done that warranted him getting his head bashed in until he was dead? how do you think your parents would feel if it had been you killed?

    • art

      good comment rosa if these fools would just stop and think for one second the pain and distruction you bring on families for nothing, a freaking cell phone..etc

  • Nat

    These 2 are known in northern va. They are heartless and Christopher Johnson is a danger to society being out on bond. He has no remorse. He did the same thing to a Student at JMU putting him into the hospital. Actions = accountability = consequences. We can’t have this kind is scum among our loved ones.

  • Lisa

    My question is why were these two mug shots NEVER shown on the news? Did the media want everyone to think that the surrounding neighborhood (mostly Black) produced such monsters that will do this to this poor fellow? Is it because the two are WHITE and they want the public perception to be that only Blacks will do something like this? Are they ashamed that it is two WHITE guys? What is the motive for hiding the photos from the televised news program? Yes, there are plenty of WHITE thugs – Wake up, America. One has to wonder

    • Brenda

      Is that all that you have to comment on is the whole color thing? Get over it a young man was killed!

      • Lisa

        Yes, race does matter in this case because it is frequently referred to that the surrounding community (mostly Blacks) is committing these crimes on the ODU students – this is why there was secrecy in releasing these mug shots. They wanted us to believe the hype. There have been plenty of incidences were Black suspect’s photos were released to the public JUST on suspicion alone. I smell a rat in this case. AND, even after an arrest was made while the story was being broadcasted (meaning that they already had the probable cause), their mug shots were never posted to the public on the news – however, plenty of Black suspects photos are posted even if there is no proof to make an arrest or indictment. We are NOT falling for that excuse. Go Figure! Anyone that disagrees must be WHITE and offended by what I am posting. Reality is biting at them (a hit dog will holler)!

    • Ben

      Your blatant racism in all these comments is sickening, and is truthfully the reason racism still exists today. How about stop holding a grudge against the white man, and get with the times because an attitude like yours is not going to change anything, only make things worse. I can tell by your comments that you must be poorly educated, and once again this not the white man’s fault, only your community’s. I sincerely hope you take these words to heart because entitled grudge-holders like yourself are the reason society can not move forward at the pace we should be.

      • Lisa

        Silly Ben,
        Let me take the time out of my schedule to get your ignorant a** together – not that your response even warrants a reply. First of all, I can tell that you are not educated yourself by jumping on here and attacking me for calling it like I see it. Don’t come from me unless I send for you! Why don’t you find another hobby and go stalk someone else’s posts because your comments are VERY INSIGNIFICANT. I am a TRUTH FINDER and no matter how you slice it or try to make sense of it, this was a blatant attempt to hide the fact that two white boys committed this crime. The NEWS BROADCASTS did NOT post these mug shots on TELEVISION until UP TO one week AFTER the arrests – DEAL WITH IT!

  • BradWood60

    The police did not want to compromise the witness id’s -it’s that simple. Why take the risk of blowing the case on a technicality? Well worth the wait to see this loser’s mug shot to not jeopardize the case.

    • tamtam

      I hope there is a strong case enough to put these 2 behind bars and experience what they did to this young man and many others they have assaulted unfairly!! Such garbage to society.

      • Lisa

        Yes, they are white garbage and I hate that we had to live and breathe around them. They should get the death penalty!

Comments are closed.

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