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Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022
Sunday night, Charlottesville was once again rocked by violence. A shooter opened fire on a bus filled with University of Virginia students returning from a trip to Washington D.C. to see a play. Three people died, two were injured, and the suspect fled.
UVA Police responded quickly, locking down campus, calling in other police agencies and beginning a manhunt. About 12 hours later, the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., was captured in Henrico County.
Today’s newsletter is about events that we know many people in our community will find difficult to read. We encourage you to consider your well-being as you take in the news.
The three young men who died were Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry. They were all UVA football players. Officials have not released the names of the two people who were injured. As of Monday afternoon they were both in UVA Hospital, one in critical condition, the other stable.
There have been multiple stories about these three men published since their deaths on Sunday. Some of the best I’ve seen were in The Daily Progress and UVA Today.
Lavel Davis Jr. was in his third year at UVA. He was from Dorchester, South Carolina. His coaches say he was a big football star in the making. But, off field, he was impressive for a different reason. People liked him, his professors say. He went out of his way to be kind and make friends. And he wanted to make the world a better place. Read more about Davis in The Daily Progress.
Devin Chandler was also a third year student, but he’d been in Charlottesville less than a year. The Huntington, North Carolina native transferred to UVA from the University of Wisconsin last winter. He’d yet to play for the Cavaliers, but he was also a star in the making, his coaches say. And he, too, was incredibly kind. Read more about Chandler in The Daily Progress.
D’Sean Perry was in his fourth year at UVA. He was from Miami and he played all over the field for the Cavaliers. His friends and coaches say he was resilient and funny. “He had a serious demeanor initially but once he opened up he was one of the funniest, goofiest kids I knew,” Perry’s former teammate and Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Charles Snowden said in an Instagram post. “He faced plenty of his ups and downs but he faced every challenge with courage and every scar only made him stronger. That is something I will never forget and always carry with me in his honor.” Read more about Perry in The Daily Progress.
“The bodies of Devin and D’Sean were found inside a charter bus, where they’d been for the day doing school activities, having a meal together, coming back to our Grounds,” UVA Police Chief Tim Longo said at a news conference Monday morning. “And someone amongst them chose to do an act of violence.”
Longo paused for a moment, before continuing.
“And we found them dead inside that bus.”
Lavel was alive when first responders arrived and died later at UVA Hospital.
Longo and other UVA officials hosted the news conference at 11 a.m. Monday. The room was packed with dozens of reporters from around the country.
When the press conference began, UVA Police and the other local, state and national agencies conducting the search had not found Jones, the suspected shooter, but they were convinced he was no longer on campus. They lifted the 12-hour shelter in place order for the university, allowing hundreds of students who spent the night in dorm rooms, libraries, labs and other common areas to once again move about campus.
Jones, Longo said, was on UVA Threat Assessment’s radar since earlier in the fall. Someone who was not affiliated with the university told officials that Jones had a gun. The police department investigated, but found no evidence of that gun, Longo said.
The chief was in the middle of describing that threat assessment when someone stepped toward the podium and whispered into his ear. Longo was clearly overcome by what he heard, and paused for a long moment, gripping the edges of the podium.
“We just received information the suspect is in custody,” he said. “I just need a moment to thank God.”
By Monday evening, UVA students had organized a silent vigil to honor their slain classmates. Thousands of people gathered on the South Lawn, collecting candles from tables in silence. For nearly an hour, they streamed in and took their places together in the grass. The only sounds were those of light steps on pavement and gentle swishes of fabric as people met and hugged.
Thank you for reading,
Jessie Higgins, Charlottesville Tomorrow
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