74°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

UNLV vigil honors slain student found in North Las Vegas

Casey Davis said that in the week since his little sister’s death, the smallest thing can bring on another wave of sadness.

“It’s so up and down,” he said Friday afternoon, a week after 19-year-old UNLV student Paula Davis was found shot to death in North Las Vegas. “You think you’re doing OK for a little bit and kind of just forgetting about it, and all of a sudden some random thing — some very insignificant thing — will just trigger an extreme wave of sadness and loss.”

The 21-year-old was at UNLV for another vigil honoring the life of his sister, less than 24 hours after friends and family gathered at the park where she was found dead in her van Sept. 6. On Tuesday, Davis’ ex-boyfriend, Giovanni Ruiz, was arrested in her death.

According to his arrest report, Ruiz fatally shot Paula Davis and left her body in the park after she attempted to break up with him.

Casey Davis said his family didn’t notice any warning signs that hinted toward Ruiz being capable of violence.

“He was over at our house, he was part of the family, so to speak, during that time they were dating,” he said. “We trusted him.”

Ruiz was a UNLV graduate accounting student. Casey Davis said he believed the two met through the university’s table tennis club, one of many activities Paula Davis was enthusiastic about.

The 21-year-old said his sister never spoke about being frightened of her boyfriend, and his family had no knowledge of the relationship possibly being physically abusive.

According to Ruiz’s arrest report, Paula Davis’ parents told police that Ruiz “would limit Paula’s contact with other male friends.”

The morning she died, Paula Davis sent a final breakup text message to Ruiz, whom she had been dating for about 10 months. Casey Davis said that text was only sent to “clarify things” after the two talked face-to-face.

“It was a text, and the reason was because she was trying to avoid a confrontation in person,” he said.

Instead of focusing on how she died, those who spoke at the vigils Thursday night and Friday afternoon talked about Paula Davis’ warm smile, joy for life and enthusiasm for everything she did.

Of the many activities she participated in, Paula Davis’ friends and teachers Friday talked about how she played multiple instruments, participated in the UNLV marching band, was a member of the honors college, planned to study abroad in Costa Rica, took dance lessons, frequently went ice skating, joined the table tennis club and was working toward a minor in UNLV’s global entrepreneurship program.

Ryder Hankins, one of Paula Davis’ peers in the entrepreneurship program, said he organized Friday’s vigil for his classmates to be together. Only 20 students are admitted into the program each semester, so he was close with the 19-year-old during their weekly classes, Hankins said.

Many in Paula Davis’ entrepreneurship group, called a cohort, spoke about her enthusiasm.

“A funny thing about our cohort is we’re very different, all of us, and Paula was one of the more positive people,” Hankins said after the vigil. “Paula was just like a beam of light.”

During the vigil, UNLV acting President Marta Meana said Paula Davis was “UNLV family” who was “known for her kindness.”

“A friend said Paula would want to be remembered for her laughter, her joy and her smile,” Meana said. “I believe all of us can honor Paula by being part of her legacy by being kind to each other and by serving others.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
What is your astrological sign-crime?
Based on data from Clark County crime reports, what crime do you think your sign commits the most? (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Samuel Little Confession: Las Vegas, Nevada - VIDEO
Samuel Little, 79, has confessed to 93 murders. He is currently in prison in Texas. Law enforcement has confirmed more than half of his confessions, but some remain unmatched. In a recent interview, Little recalled details of a victim in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas police investigate officer-involved shooting - VIDEO
Las Vegas police investigate after Nevada Highway Patrol troopers shot at then used a Taser on a man who had thrown rocks at them near U.S. Highway 95 and Eastern Avenue on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
East Charleston armed robbery - VIDEO
An armed robbery occurred at a business located on the 3000 block of East Charleston Boulevard just after 9 p.m., Sept. 30, 2019. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Gigi Mitchell Sentenced
A woman prosecutors said used an 11-year-old girl as a prop while prostituting on the Strip was ordered to serve up to six years behind bars on Tuesday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Day 6 of Bani Duarte trial in California
Police say Bani Duarte, 29, was drunk when she drove into a car carrying four Las Vegas teens, killing three, in Huntington Beach, California on March 29, 2018. She is being tried on murder charges in Santa Ana. (Renee Summeropur/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police looking for burglary suspects - VIDEO
Las Vegas police are searching for a man and a woman suspected in four burglaries in the southwest valley this month. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Gustavo Ramos-Martinez, convicted of killing two elderly people, ordered to serve life in prison
Gustavo Ramos-Martinez, convicted of killing two elderly people, ordered to serve two sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Bizutesfaye
Paula Davis sings "On the Steps of the Palace"
Paula Davis sings “On the Steps of the Palace,” a song from the musical “Into the Woods,” at a Timeless Tonys performance in 2017. (Lissy de Jesus/YouTube)
Attorneys for Aryan Warriors request leaked documents
Defense attorneys for two Aryan Warriors members accused of murder and racketeering requested documents during a court hearing Wednesday after they were leaked to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Chance Underwood Preliminary Hearing Called Off - Video
Chance Underwood appears in court with his preliminary hearing called off but will have his hearing in October.
Man sentenced in DUI crash that killed former Metro sergeant’s son
Nineteen year old Alexander Brewer was ordered to serve five to 20 years behind bars Monday for a DUI crash that killed Garrett Meriwether, the son of a retired Las Vegas police sergeant.
Giovanni Ruiz, accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, appeared in court
Giovanni Ruiz, a UNLV grad student accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, Paula Davis, appeared in court during his arraignment at the North Las Vegas Justice Center. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Woman attacked, stabbed while sleeping in Las Vegas apartment
A woman awoke in her apartment to find another woman on top of her “stabbing her repeatedly,” according to Las Vegas police on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Rossi Ralenkotter appears in court
Ex-LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter appeared in court on Tuesday, Sept. 10 to face felony charges related to alleged theft of Southwest Airlines gift cards bought by the tourism agency.
Chuck Chaiyakul appears in court
Chuck Chaiyakul,accused of killing a woman and putting her body in a 55-gallon drum, appears in court on Friday. Sept. 6, 2019. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge denies bail for man accused of sledgehammer murder
Clinton Taylor, the man accused of bludgeoning a woman he did not know with a sledgehammer while she was doing her laundry, appeared in court Wednesday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Attorney argues for equal treatment for defendant - VIDEO
Attorneys for a Las Vegas man facing life behind bars for drug possession asked a judge this week to make sure he gets treated like a tech billionaire who avoided prison time in a similar case. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police believe woman's body is in 55-gallon drum (Part 1)
Metro Lt. Ray Spencer briefs the media on a homicide investigation where police believe a woman's body is in a 55-gallon drum in the southwest Las Vegas Valley (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police beileve woman's body is in 55-gallon drum (Part 2)
Metro Lt. Ray Spencer briefs the media on a homicide investigation where police believe a woman's body is in a 55-gallon drum in the southwest Las Vegas Valley (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Damion Dill sentenced in shooting of 11-year-old-girl
Damion Dill was sentenced to 50 years in prison Tuesday, following the shooting death of 11-year-old Angelina Erives last November. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas sledgehammer killing suspect ordered held without bail - VIDEO
Clinton Taylor, the man accused of randomly bludgeoning a woman to death with a sledgehammer early Thursday at a Las Vegas laundromat, was ordered to be held without bail on Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Members of white supremacist prison gang arraigned in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Members of the violent white supremacist prison gang known as the Aryan Warriors were brought before Judge Doulas Herndon for their initial arraignments on Thursday in Las Vegas. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man arrested in face stabbing incident - VIDEO
A man was taken into custody Thursday morning after allegedly attacking his mother at a home on the southwest side of Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate sledgehammer homicide - VIDEO
Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer talks to the media about a woman who was attacked and killed by a man using a sledgehammer, early Thursday morning, Aug. 29, 2019 (Sabrina Schnur/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police fired 6 shots to end standoff at Laughlin casino - VIDEO
SWAT officers fired six rounds Monday morning when they fatally wounded an attempted robbery suspect who pointed a weapon at officers following an hourslong standoff in the Aquarius casino parking lot in Laughlin. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review/Journal)
Off-duty Officer Exchanges Gunfire With Suspect
Las Vegas police Capt. Nichole Splinter briefs the media on a shooting involving an off duty police officer on August 21, 2019. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department/YouTube)
Paul Browning Released from Ely State Prison - VIDEO
Paul Browning greets his mother, Betty Browning, after being released from Ely State Prison. Browning served 33 years on Nevada’s death row. (Rachel Crosby/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Armed robbery suspect killed in officer-involved shooting at Laughlin casino
An armed robbery suspect was killed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers after six-hour standoff outside the Aquarius Casino in Laughlin on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect dead after officer-involved shooting at Laughlin casino
An armed robbery suspect is dead after a nearly seven-hour standoff the Aquarius Casino in Laughlin ended with an officer-involved shooting. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Second officer-involved shooting of 2019 for North Las Vegas Police Department
North Las Vegas Police hold a press conference about the second officer involved shooting of 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Road Rage Homicide Suspect Van
Video shows a van Las Vegas police believe was involved in a deadly road rage incident on August 5. Police announced on August 26 that they have recovered the van. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police look for armed robbers
Police are seeking two men involved in an armed robbery Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, on the 7500 block of North Cimarron Road, near Farm Road. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police searching for video related to road rage homicide
Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Section is asking for clues from the public to solve a murder from Aug. 5. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Jury hears closing statements in killing of 17-year-old
Closing statements began today for Jaiden Caruso and Kody Harlan charged in the death of 17-year-old Matthew Minkler. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CCSD to vote on shooting settlement
The Clark County School Board will vote Thursday on a $100,000 settlement for the mother of Dalvin Brown, the Canyon Springs High School student who was shot and killed on school grounds at the beginning of last school year. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police find 2 dead in northwest valley home
Las Vegas homicide detectives are investigating after two people were found dead in a home Friday night in the far northwest valley.
Teen talks about alleged sexual assault at Las Vegas grocery store
A 17-year old says she was groped and then sexually assaulted by a loss-prevention specialist at an Albertsons store in east Las Vegas. The subject's voice has been distorted to protect her identity. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Court hearing For 17-year-old Who Was Found Dead Begins - Video
An image that captured blood pooled near the head of a 17-year-old’s lifeless body appeared on monitors inside a Las Vegas courtroom Wednesday, as prosecutors gave opening statements in the murder trial for two teens charged in Matthew Minkler’s death.
Purse Theft Occurs at Suncoast - Video
Purse theft occurred July 24 at Suncoast just after 930 pm.
Woman accused of trafficking an 11-year-old girl in Las Vegas - Video
A woman accused of trafficking an 11-year-old girl on the Strip agreed to plead guilty to a child abuse charge, her attorney said. Gigi Mitchell, 40, faces several counts of child abuse and one count of child sex trafficking. The 11-year-old girl told social worker Felicia Tucker that she was a “hustler” and entered nightclubs where she drank and flirted with men.
Las Vegas police address latest office-involved shooting
Metro police officials provided details on Monday, July 22, 2019, during a media briefing about an officer-involved shooting, which occurred on July 17 in east Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
THE LATEST