Teen fraternity member honored during vigil at Newman Center

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Posted at 10:57 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 11:56:51-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — About 24 hours after Thomas "Lofton" Hazelwood, 18, was pronounced dead, several dozen University of Kentucky students gathered outside the Catholic Newman Center to honor the Henderson, Kentucky native.

Brian Gall, a missionary at the Newman Center, said he learned about Hazelwood's death from Father Steve Roberts, who was asked by the family to bless Hazelwood's body.

Hazelwood was found unresponsive at the Farmhouse Fraternity Monday night. Gary Ginn, the Fayette County coroner, said he likely died of alcohol toxicity.

Gall said he had never met Hazelwood, but knew that Hazelwood was Catholic and that his sister had been involved in the Newman Center.

"I've only heard amazing things," Gall said in an interview with LEX 18, after leading a group of students in prayer at the vigil.

Gall told LEX 18 that the vigil was hastily put together Tuesday after some students had expressed their desire to pray for Hazelwood's family.

"I've had people come up and be like, 'Oh, we're not Catholic, is that fine?'" Gall said. "So we've had people from all over the place just wanting to participate in prayer at this moment, which I think is a beautiful testament to this community."

When asked what his message would be to students who feel lost during this trying time, he encouraged them to embrace a sense of community.

"Usually in moments of our greatest weakness or great tragedy," Gall said. "We question the biggest questions of life and I think this is a moment for prayer and the community to come together."

Hazelwood's visitations are Friday, October 22, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church. His funeral mass will follow Saturday's visitation at 12 p.m.

Anyone with information on the student's death is asked to contact UK Police 859-257-1616. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to 859-323-8477 (TIPS).