Tall remembered by brother at vigil

Joe David Tall’s family loved him very much, and worried about him constantly.

Randy Tall Craven was at the candlelight vigil held for his younger brother Wednesday at the bus stop where Tall was shot.

‘My heart hurts today,’ he said.’ ‘It hurts very bad.’

In the aftermath of Tall’s death, campus conversation seemed to be about the picture in the newspaper and not about the person in the picture. Campus Lutheran Pastor Bradley Fuerst felt he needed to change that.

‘I noticed there’s been a lot of reaction to the image on the front page and the person was not depicted with dignity and respect,’ he said. ‘It sort of hit home for me.’

The corner of Holman and Cullen was not particularly quiet – there were still cars honking, car alarms going off and people speaking on phones in the distance – but there were also some twenty or thirty people standing, speaking of God and remembering Tall.

‘Tonight we are surrounded by traffic, the sights and smells that every homeless person is accustomed to,’ Fuerst said at the service.

Visitors to the basketball games see the Hofheinz bus stop, as do students parking in Robertson Stadium’s parking lot and driving down Cullen to many other places on campus.

‘With… it being a high traffic place in some ways, it wasn’t just a place I’d heard about; it was a place I went to often,’ divinity intern Gail Yarborough said.

Strangely, as visible as the spot is and as intense was the furor, the campus response seemed deeply inadequate in the wake of a man’s death.’

‘We didn’t mark it.’ The most we got was that it was disturbing,’ said Fuerst. ‘ We need to go further.’

The student body was affected, in some cases profoundly, by Tall’s death, and there are a questions in the wake of the crime.

‘That there are so many undefined things about how it happened,’ Yarborough said. ‘There are just a lot of people who are victimized by this crime.’

There is renewed focus on homelessness in Houston and on campus following Tall’s death.

‘ ‘The bottom line is, for homeless people, the bottom line for them is deprivation. They’re daily confronted with violence; many suffer from mental illness,’ Fuerst said.

Tall was homeless for 27 years, his brother said He was one of several brothers, and his parents lived in different cities. Craven said Tall was a bright kid, and loved sports.

‘He was one of those, he was sharp,’ Craven said.’

‘He loved to fish, and he loved to be homeless.’ I don’t know why, I couldn’t help him,’ he said.’

The family was notified of the candlelight vigil but many members were unable to travel to be on campus to remember their loved one with the students and staff.

‘I’m the only one who could be here tonight because everybody else is so split up,’ Craven said. ‘I got another brother who’s in jail, got four or five in Shepherd, they can’t be here,’ he said.

Craven mourns his brother.’ His family tried for years to help him get off the streets, but there was nothing they could do.’

‘I don’t know what there is to like about that, not to have someone cook you a meal, not to have a warm person next to you. Who could like that?’ he said.

The campus remains divided about the photograph of Tall’s body and about the safety of students.’

Still, there is something to be found in all the worry and sorrow. Last night we took time out of our lives to remember, and discover.

‘We’re all people together, you know,’ Craven said. ‘God wants us all to come together as one, and understand one another’s hearts and feelings.’

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