Avila University graduate and family members killed in Colorado rock slide

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A recent graduate of Avila University and four of his family members were killed in a Colorado rock slide on Monday. The rock slide happened on a popular hiking trail for families on a mountain outside of Denver.

More than 300 classmates, teachers, teammates and friends gathered on Tuesday afternoon to remember 22-year-old Paris Walkup. He had just graduated with honors last May and spent four years as a wide-out for the Avila Eagles football team. Walkup was a team captain last year.

Two of his teammates held up his number 2 jersey on Tuesday during prayers for Walkup, his family and the school. The team says they will wear his initials ‘PW’ on their jerseys the rest of the year and will dedicate their play this season for him.

Walkup was a nursing graduate and those classmates were also very emotional. He was killed in the rock slide along with his aunt, uncle, cousin and his 10-year-old little brother, Beijing.

Authorities say the lone survivor is Walkup’s 13-year-old cousin who was pulled from the rubble after her father jumped in front of a boulder to shield her.

Online records show that Walkup is from Mountain View, Mo. and he was working for a local mattress company before going back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

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