The University of Virginia lifted a campus-wide lockdown Monday, just hours after three students were killed and two others were injured in a shooting rampage on a charter bus returning from a field trip, according to authorities.
D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr., and Devin Chandler were among those killed, according to university President Jim Ryan.
“This is a sad, shocking, and tragic day for our UVA community,” Ryan said during a press conference on Monday.
The hunt for the suspected shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a student at the prestigious, 22,000-student school, had prompted a university wide, shelter-in-place order that lasted about 12 hours. During the briefing, University Police Chief Timothy Longo received word that Jones had been apprehended. “Just give me a moment to thank God, breathe a sigh of relief,” Longo said.
Ryan stated that students would have access to counseling and psychological services. Monday’s classes were canceled, as was a UVA basketball game.
“This is a message that no leader wants to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia,” Ryan wrote in an open letter shared on social media. “This is a traumatic event for our entire community.”
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said they were assisting with the investigation. Governor Glenn Youngkin stated that State Police were coordinating with local authorities and that he and his wife, Suzanne, were “praying for the UVA community.”
Rachel Mulvaney, a first-year student at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Public Policy and Leadership, was locked in her dorm room. She said she first learned about the shooting when her mother called to check on her. She saw the school’s alert about a shooter on campus a short time later.
“I was terrified, it honestly didn’t hit me that this could be real at first,” she said in an email to USA TODAY. “It was difficult for me to process and wrap my head around it.”
Students checked in on each other to ensure that their friends and loved ones were safe, she explained. She is also concerned about students’ mental health.
“There is a heavy mourning atmosphere,” she said. “I’m praying for the families of the victims as well as the UVA football team. I’m concerned about students’ mental health. How will we rebuild? What will the future look like? Confused and terrified.”
Luke, a 21-year-old fourth-year student majoring in foreign affairs, biology, and pre-med, was confined to his girlfriend’s home with several other students “studying and just staying put.” They were listening to the police scanner for updates from the scene, which was only a mile away.
“People have been locked down in libraries all night. Everyone (is) definitely shaken up,” Luke, who preferred that his last name be withheld for privacy reasons, told USA TODAY in an email. “We are in deep prayer for the victims and for their families right now.”
All three victims were football players for the University of Virginia. Perry was a Miami 6-foot-3 junior linebacker. Davis, a junior wide receiver from Dorchester, South Carolina, stood 6-foot-7. Chandler, a 6-foot junior wide receiver from Huntersville, North Carolina, transferred from the University of Wisconsin this season.
Perry, a Miami native and Gulliver Preparatory School graduate, made two tackles in the Cavaliers’ loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday. On the season, he had seven tackles. The news of Perry’s death “devastated” recruiting analyst Larry Blustein.
“D’Sean was the ultimate student/athlete who never had an enemy,” Blustein wrote in a text. “While several schools didn’t take notice of what he brought to the table as an athlete, the University of Virginia understood what he was all about — on and off the playing field. … This is a great loss.”
The names of the two people who were wounded were not released.