Dozens gather to remember GSU student Michael Gatto

Published: Sep. 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2014 at 2:58 AM EDT
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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Dozens of Georgia Southern students gathered on Monday night in the middle of campus to remember their friend Michael Gatto.

Gatto was a freshman at the university. He died after an altercation at Rude Rudy's Bar in Statesboro two weeks ago. Officers said Gatto suffered head injuries during a fight with Grant Spencer.

Spencer, 20, has since been charged with felony murder.

Monday night was about remembering Gatto for the good things, the memories, his smile and his heart. He had just graduated from South Forsyth High School near Atlanta and was on campus as a freshman for only two weeks when his life ended.

"Whenever he walked into a room, he would just light it up," said Matthew Cira. "That is the kind of person he was. Everyone knew him. Even if you did not know him well, you had heard of him."

The pain is still very raw for friends and students on the campus of Georgia Southern University. Gatto came to school with such excitement and hope, something he will never get to experience.

"He just loved to be around people, he could never be by himself," Cira said.

"I knew right away that he was something special," said Gatto's roommate Michael Jurick. "I hung out with him every day and got to know him real well."

Jurick met Michael Gatto the first day of school and said he immediately left an impression, something those closest to Gatto said was not a surprise.

On Monday night, dozens gathered to share memories and light candles, trying to figure out how to deal with their loss.

"Still trying to figure that out now," Cira said. "Honestly, just grouping together. I am not too sure, really."

Georgia Southern University has counselors available for anyone who needs to talk. Students said they want to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"People have just kind of come together and rallied behind this thing not happening again," Jurick said. "Just watching out for this type of thing to make sure it does not happen anymore."

As candles were lit, Gatto's best friend had a request for everyone.

"He deserves to be remembered in the light," McKenzie said. "In a happy way, and I hope that is all you guys think of."

As for Spencer, he has been charged with felony murder. He was a bouncer at Rude Rudy's Bar but was not working at the time. He has also been let go from his job there.

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