The devastating tragedy at the University of Virginia


(Dulaney Griffin/ University of Virginia Athletics)

From left, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry

Anna Dudas, Staff Writer

Devastating news traveled through University of Virginia’s (UVA) campus following the shooting and killing of three individuals on Nov. 13. This marks the 68th shooting this year on U.S. school grounds, including 15 on college campuses. The victims had returned from a school field trip to Washington D.C. late Sunday evening, when they were shot on a school bus around 10:30 p.m. near a parking garage on Culbreth Road. 

UVA lacrosse player and student, Finley Barger, was mournful after hearing the shocking news of the shooting.

“After hearing of the shooting, I was really scared and nervous because I did not know what was going on. I personally did not know any of the players killed, but I have seen them around campus because we were both athletes,” says Barger. 

The shooting prompted a shelter-in-place alert lasting hours, as students were locked down in dorms, classrooms and libraries.

“We were locked down for 12 hours as they were trying to find the shooter and we were not allowed to leave our dorms, which was super scary,” says Barger. 

Hours later, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a former UVA football player, was arrested late Monday morning around 11 a.m. in Henrico County, east of Charlottesville.

The three individuals killed in the shooting were UVA football players. Lavel Davis Jr., a junior from South Carolina, was one of the top wide receivers this season, averaging 16 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns. De’Sean Perry, a junior linebacker from Miami, has played in 15 games over the last 3 seasons. Devin Chandler, a junior wide receiver and kick returner from North Carolina, had recently transferred to UVA this offseason from the University of Wisconsin. A junior running back for UVA, Michael Hollins was shot in the back.

Following the shooting, thousands of Virginia students and community members gathered Monday night Nov. 14 for a vigil on the South Lawn of campus. Despite the unfortunate events that were the cause of this, the UVA community has come together to support one another.

“Right now, I feel like it is making the UVA community stronger and helping everyone. We have all been through something that should never happen, and knowing that I have the entire campus of UVA to have my back and I have theirs is a powerful thing,” says Barger. 

Many individuals and parents of students at the university are now questioning campus safety protocols in the wake of the shooting. As of now, the university is hiring more public safety officials, as well as more police officers, to create a barrier between themselves and the outside. 

“As for safety, they are just making the students their first priorities. We have professors who are incredibly open to working with students on assignments and class attendance, and we have so many resources available we can go to talk about the situation and if we need help,” says Barger. 

This shooting has impacted many students and athletes, especially the families of Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry, and Lavel Davis Jr. It gave the community a new outlook on the fragility of life and showed them that individuals must come together and protect each other during times of crisis.