An estimated 150-plus gathered last night near White Rock Lake to honor the life of fellow runner David Stevens, who was killed last week on the White Rock Creek Trail in Lake Highlands. Most of those people did not know Stevens but felt a close bond with him nonetheless.
Police suspect Stevens, an engineer and inventor, was killed at random last Monday morning by 21-year-old Thomas Linze Johnson. (Johnson, who reportedly has a history of disturbed behavior, immediately turned himself in and confessed to bludgeoning the runner with a machete-type weapon.)
An avid runner, Stevens regularly trained on the White Rock Creek Trail, and he ran the Dallas Marathon last year.
Attendees gathered outside the Dallas Running Club’s building where they pinned on memorial bibs and ran for an hour before returning to the parking lot for a candlelight vigil.
One of the organizers, Jorge Namè, says that while Stevens was not a member of the running club, he will be mourned and remembered as a friend.
“It felt right to honor the life of a fellow runner even though we did not know him,” Name says. “Also to remind us the we must live life today because you never know what tomorrow will bring.”
I ran alongside Nick Polito, a Lake Highlands resident who says he frequently runs alone along the same stretch of trail Stevens was running when he was attacked. He didn’t know Stevens, but says that once he saw his photo, he recognized his face. “I’d seen him out there running,” Polito says.
Though Stevens was a resident of Sunnyvale, his neighbors told reporters he liked to drive to the White Rock Lake trails for his morning jogs.
Novle Rogers, another White Rock area resident who ran with us, says he did not know Stevens either but that he felt a bond simply because the man was a runner like him. He was there to show his support for Stevens and his loved ones.
The sentiment was echoed throughout the crowd: Stevens did not appear to be a social runner, he did not belong to any of our city’s many running clubs, but he was a soulmate because he got up every morning to do the same thing many of us do — run.
Another local runner, Robin Korevaar, says she is considering a memorial — possibly a tree, plant or bench — at the site of Stevens’ death, near Moss Haven Park.
Advocate photographer Rasy Ran contributed to the reporting and took all pictures.