Westerville South 2012 graduate Dinkisra Mengistu was killed in a shooting early Sunday morning outside a north Columbus hotel.
Mengistu, 19, had just climbed into the back seat of a friend's car after leaving a party at the Sheraton Suites Columbus, 201 Hutchinson Ave., off Campus View Drive north of Worthington.
A black SUV pulled up behind the car, and shots were fired through the back window. It was about 12:30 a.m.
"They were trying to kill," said Brandon Mix, 18, who was in the car with Mengistu and was one of his best friends.
Two of the shots hit Mengistu in the head. No one else was struck.
Columbus police said they have no suspects.
About 80 of Mengistu's friends gathered Sunday night, March 9, behind Westerville South High School to hold a vigil for their classmate.
Jayshon Jackson, 20, who organized the vigil, remembered Mengistu as a funny and engaging friend.
"He didn't deserve this," Jackson said.
Mengistu and his family emigrated to the United States from Ethiopia. He lived on the Northeast Side and was taking classes at Columbus State Community College.
Mengistu didn't know what he wanted to be when he finished school, said another friend, Brennan Witt, who went to Westerville South and Columbus State with him. He knew only that he wanted to make enough money to buy his parents and his sisters nice houses and take his friends on a trip around the world.
Everyone who met Mengistu liked him, Witt said. He went by the nickname "Dink."
"He was always laughing," Witt said. "I've never met anybody in my life like Dink."
Dispatch reporter Jim Woods contributed to this story.