De Smet community grieves for slain student

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – There were new leads Monday in the downtown St. Louis murder of Bobby Christman, 19, a student at SEMO and a graduate of De Smet High School.

There was also an outpouring of grief and support across St. Louis and beyond.

Christman graduated from De Smet in 2013.

His brother, a student there now, was with Christman when he was shot.

7 of his De Smet classmates met with FOX 2 to share memories of a young they called their brother.

Austin Collins recalled Christman's intensity during a tough hit rugby practice for the back-to-back state champs at De Smet.

"Once he realized that he hurt me there were a million "sorries" in a minute.  The kid was just one of the nicest kids I ever met.  It's just a shame that he went so soon," Collins said, fighting tears.

Nick English recalled the De Smet days and their freshman year together at SEMO.

"I wasn't in a fraternity at the time [but Bobby was]," English said.

"He made me feel really comfortable down there.  When I didn't have anything to do, he would always invite me over just to hang out."

"I can hear his laugh right now in my head.  It was contagious, made everyone else around him happy," said Mike Kellett, also a rugby teammate.

A few in the group had been with Bobby two days before the shooting, at one of their indoor soccer games.

"At De Smet we have this kind of saying, 'Men for Others'.  He really took that to heart and lived it out.  He really helped everybody.  He was the first in line to help you.  If you really needed it, he was always there.  You could always count on him," said Kevin Christoff.

"I'm in a pretty good coat out here shivering," said Tanner Rodell, referring to the winter chill during the outdoor interview Monday night.  "He'd be out here in a tank top, telling us it's not cold.  He's one of those guys who wouldn't back down from anything."

"He was a great friend; my brother.  He was all of our brothers," said Bobby Ellison.

There was an outpouring on social media.

His fraternity at SEMO "SigEps" tweeted the hash tag #SigEpStrong.

There was Ursuline Academy, where Christman's little sister is in high school and also from rival high school, SLUH.

Police gave this account:  Christman was shot in a parked car at 15th and Lucas around 12:30 Sunday morning; his 17-year-old brother was dropping Bobby and a female friend at a birthday party at Club Europe – which admits customers as young as 18; a suspect shot Bobby while trying to steal the young woman's purse; the suspects fled in 2004 silver Chrysler Sebring, stolen in a carjacking a couple days before the shooting and not far from the shooting scene.

Police tracked that car to Washington Park Sunday night and said the suspects got away on foot after an exchange of gunfire.

"No police officers were injured.  No suspects to our knowledge were struck.  They abandoned that vehicle and ran.  Because the officers were unfamiliar with that area they lost the suspects.  But we do have the vehicle," said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.

Christman's classmates demanded justice for Christman and his family, saying their lives were richer for having him as a friend – a brother.

"If we didn't see him for a year and we saw him the next day, it'd be like we never were away from each other for a day," Kellett said.

"You knew he was going to be a great guy and a great man," said Max Pauley.  "He was an awesome role model for his little brother.  He left a lasting impression.  The hospital was filled with people who cared about him.  Tons of people are going to miss him.  He was really loved individual."

Investigators were checking the car for fingerprints and DNA, Dotson said.

If you have any information call CRIMESTOPPERS at (866) 371-TIPS.

There is a reward.  You don't have to leave your name to get it.

Previous Coverage:

College student shot, killed near City Museum downtown

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