by Michelle Sutherland
“He seemed normal, he didn’t have a lot of issues. He was quiet, but not different. He had friends when I saw him around on campus,” said Eric Ellington, a senior at Radford University studying business management.
Although they were not close friends outside of the classroom, Ellington and Ashley spent a fair amount of time together two years ago in their statics class.
“We became friends though and did homework together and stuff. He was kind of quiet, kept to himself a bit more than others maybe,” he said. “But some people in college are just like that.”
In high school, Ashley — a Partlow, Va., native — was not overly social but was well liked by his friends. A starting running back for the varsity football team at Spotsylvania High School, he was friends with his teammates and classmates, according to Steve Hook, who attended “Spotsy” with him.
“Football was the best way I knew him,” he said. “I’d see him in the hall, we’d chat. We hung out in study hall when I played football. We got along really well. He was really nice. I never saw him lose his temper … he was always in a pretty good mood.”
Hook lost touch with Ashley and other friends when he went to school in Florida, “much to their chagrin.” But, last time he saw him, he seemed perfectly normal.
“I saw him not too long ago when I was home for vacation. He was not the most outgoing, but he got along with everybody, he was well liked at Spotsy.”
Nothing in his past prepared Ellington and Hook for Thursday’s events.
“It’s a complete shock,” Ellington said. “I never would’ve thought. You kind of know what kind of person is going to do this, they’re different. But I never would’ve expected it. Total shock.”