Today, her friends at U of I found out she was shot, while in French class. Nearly a dozen Centennial graduates, who now attend the U of I, gathered in a dormitory, to share memories of Cloyd. When they first heard about the shooting, they sent her emails and called her, just to check and make sure she was alright. Their eyes, were glued to the television, waiting for updates. But when they heard nothing, they became worried. Beth Elliott, Cloyd's friend, says Austin's mother was just telling her to keep praying. It wasn't until Tuesday afternoon, they say the finally got the bad news...Austin died.
Rachel Day, friend, remembers hearing the news. "I just ran out of class, called everyone. Basically it was call to everyone to let them know what we knew. We were calling people for probably an hour or more, letting people know the very basic. That she was gone," says Day.
Tuesday night, the community held a prayer service for Austin and the other victims at First Methodist Church, in Champaign. Cloyd's family was very involved with the church while they lived in Champaign. Terry Harter, Senior Pastor, says when he heard they couldn't find her, he knew it didn't sound good. "You think, alright, she's unconscious, she's in surgery; she doesn't have an ID. But it just went on all night," says Harter. When he found out about her death, he said, "it's just a horrible thing and there is no answer to why. We'll never be happy with any answer. We'd like Austin back."
Cloyd's friends say she loved to play basketball and volleyball. They also remember taking trips to the park with her; and having "Austin Wednesday", when all her friends would gather at her house for lunch every week. They shared these memories and many more on Tuesday, to try and cope with the pain of loss. The group of close friends say they won't have Austin anymore, but they will have each other to share her memory.
"I couldn't stop thinking about it," says friend Michaela Klump, "and it just helped to come here with everyone else, and just be able to smile about the memories."
They say it's those memories that will keep them going.