Remembering Alex: Friends reflect one year after student’s death

Photos submitted by friends

Emma Austin

Alex Davis made everyone happy.

It didn’t matter who you were. If you were around him, he would make sure you felt included, accepted.

It’s been one year since Davis died during the first week of his senior year at WKU, and happy is how his friends remember him.

Carly Hudson met Davis when she was about 7 or 8, and he was 8 or 9, through her uncle, a best friend of Davis’s dad.

“He was always a character, super-duper funny,” Hudson said. “He would always mess with my little cousins. . . That was probably my first impression.”

When Hudson and Davis were in middle school, their families went on vacation together to Vero Beach, Florida and stayed at a Disney resort. Even though they were over the age limit for most of the activities, Davis would come get Carly in the mornings and take her to do something like finger painting or sand art with a class of younger kids.

“He had no shame in anything he thought would bring me joy, or would bring him joy,” Hudson said. “It was always that way. He was amazing.”

Every memory Hudson has of Davis is positive, she said. A good story would come out of any amount of time spent with him.

T.C. Collins, a friend of Davis’s since childhood, said one of the best memories he has of Davis is from a high school senior class trip to Florida. They stopped at Universal Studios in Orlando, and as soon as they got there, Davis went up to the desk and got a fast pass by telling everyone he had irritable bowel syndrome. He shared the pass with Collins and everyone else so they could go on rides all day.

“He could make friends with everybody,” Collins said. “He wasn’t afraid to talk to anybody. He had so many friends, it was crazy.”

Collins and Hudson both transferred to WKU last fall. Hudson said she talked to Davis about it beforehand, and he would always assure her everyone would love her. She had to come.

“He actually had probably a bigger influence than he ever knew about on my decision to come to Western,” Hudson said.

Once she moved to Bowling Green, Davis stopped by Hudson’s house every day. He took her under his wing and introduced her to his friends.

“He just made me feel like this was my home when I first came here,” she said.

“Bowling Green is so different now for me.”

One week into the semester, the Bowling Green Police Department received a call on Sept. 3, shortly after midnight, which they traced to a house on Kenton Street. The caller told the dispatcher he had accidentally killed someone, according to police reports.

When police arrived at the single-story brick residence, they found Kenneth “Alex” Davis bleeding on the floor.

Peter Gall, who police identified as the caller, told the responding officers he and Davis had gotten into a verbal argument, and he went to his room to get a gun. He told officers he showed it to Davis, then set it on the couch, and it went off, fatally wounding Davis. Gall is scheduled for jury trial in January.

Davis’s roommate and Sigma Chi fraternity brother Hunter Hanks had fallen asleep that night at a friend’s apartment. He woke up around 3 a.m. and walked home to the house he and Davis shared on 13th Street. When he got back and saw Davis wasn’t there, he assumed he had crashed at a friend’s house.

Hanks woke up the next day to several text messages. A message in the Sigma Chi chapter’s GroupMe came from an alumnus saying he heard somebody had been shot, somebody named Alex.

“We were all just like, what is he talking about. We had no idea,” Hanks said.

Hanks and six or seven other friends met at one of their houses. They were all sitting on a curb on the side of the road when one of them got a call from someone who told them what happened to Davis.

“When I first found out, even months after, still I don’t believe it,” Hanks said. “When we all found out, I couldn’t even cry. It wasn’t real to me yet.”

Collins had gone home that weekend. On Sunday morning, his parents found out at church what had happened and came straight home to tell him.

“The hardest part was going back to Bowling Green and knowing he wouldn’t be there,” he said. “He was one of my friends who was always there for me. He would always include me. He was always asking me to go do stuff with him. He was like a brother to me.”

Hudson remembers the phone call from her mom. She was laying in bed, and she started to shake.

“I think initially I didn’t cry because I didn’t think it was real,” she said.

Then, she called her friend Eleanor Greer, a close friend of hers and Davis’s. When she heard Greer’s voice, she started to cry.

After hanging up, Greer drove to Bowling Green, and that day the two of them went to a house where some of Davis’s close friends had gathered. They all sat on a screened-in porch and told stories for hours.

“It was really special,” Hudson said. “They all had great stories, just because Alex was. . . He was a daredevil. He would do things other people wouldn’t do. If he wanted to stand up in the middle of Walmart and yodel, he just would.”

Being around him, Hanks said, was always a thrill. Whether they were going to a concert, fishing or swimming at the creek, Davis was always looking for a way to have a good time.

“He was just fun to be around. He was outgoing—he drew people in that way,” Hanks said.

Davis studied pre-med at WKU. Ever since he started high school, he wanted to be a pediatrician, Hudson said.

One of his greatest talents, Hudson said, was how amazing he was with kids.

“I watched him for years with my cousins,” she said. “He was just a natural. He would have been the best dad.”

Hanks said he’s never met anyone else who would always have a smile on his face. Davis would always bring light to someone else’s day or bring them up when something wasn’t right.

“I hope people will see him as a representation of what happiness is like,” Hanks said.

He was straightforward, but genuine. He went out of his way to do anything for the people he cared about, Hanks said.

“I think everyone who knew Alex could say that it changed them in some way,” Hudson said. “He was sarcastic, but he was optimistic as well. He radiated positivity in a different kind of way.”

Reporter Emma Austin can be reached at 270-745-0655 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emmacaustin.