The Virginia football community has been rocked with tragedy on Sunday night after a former player reportedly shot and killed three UVA players on campus.
According to an ESPN report, the shooting happened on a charter bus filled with students who were returning from a field trip. The suspect, identified as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., opened fire and killed three Cavaliers players: receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler, and defensive end D’Sean Perry. Two other students were wounded in the incident but have not been named, though one is said to be in critical condition.
Jones is a former running back of the Virginia football team, though he didn’t play in any game for the Cavaliers. He has since been apprehended after an intense manhunt.
After learning of the devastating turn of events, Cavaliers head coach Tony Elliott expressed his pain and disbelief. He shared his condolences to the families of the victims and paid tribute to the young athletes who were taken too soon.
“I cannot find the words to express the devastation and heartache that our team is feeling today after the tragic events last night that resulted in the deaths of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin, and the others who were injured,” Elliott said in a statement, per Matt Fortuna of The Athletic.
“These were incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures. Our hearts ache for their families, their classmates and their friends. These precious young men were called away too soon. We are all fortunate to have them be a part of our lives. They touched us, inspired us and worked incredibly hard as representatives of our program, university and community. Rest in peace, young men.”
Virginia Athletics Director Carla Williams also issued a statement as she shared her heartbreak over the tragedy.
“As a mother of three children, I ache for the parents and family members. We lost three talented and bright young men. We will never see what their impact on the world would have been, but we will never forget their impact on us,” Williams said.
“I miss Lavel, D’Sean and Devin. I pray for peace, comfort and hope for their parents and loved ones. For their teammates, coaches and friends, I pray for strength and a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
The whole campus was put on lockdown amid the hunt for Jones, and while he has been arrested, academic activities have been suspended. Virginia football and the entire school community is planning a vigil, though a schedule has yet to be revealed.
Our prayers and sympathies go to the families and friends of the victims of this painful tragedy. Rest in peace.