UVA Head Football Coach Tony Elliott Issues Statement After Tragic Campus Shooting

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A shooting at the University of Virginia that killed three football players and wounded two others tragically occurred last night. A manhunt for the alleged shooter went on for hours and into Monday until authorities arrested the alleged perpetrator.

In response to the heartbreaking deaths, the University of Virginia released statements from football coach Tony Elliott and athletics director Carla Williams about the tragedy.

Three players — wide receivers Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis, as well as linebacker D’Sean Perry — were killed following a shooting near campus Sunday night.

“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,” head coach Tony Elliott wrote in a statement. “These were incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures. Our hearts ache for their families, their classmates and their friends.”

The statement continued: “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.”

The Cavaliers’ Athletic Director Carla Williams also released a statement about the senseless tragedy. Williams remarks that she hopes to focus on the healing of the families, and also to honor and remember the three victims—Lavel, D’Sean, and Devin.

Tony Elliott and UVA Athletic Director Release Statement on Tragedy

“As a mother of three children, I ache for the parents and family members,” Williams wrote. “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. 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.”

Reportedly, the young men were returning from a class field trip where they attended a play in nearby Washington, D.C. The alleged shooter is Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., who played for the Cavaliers football team in 2018, but did not appear on the team’s roster throughout any of the following seasons.

Authorities spoke at a news conference and declined to name the two wounded victims. However, UVA President Jim Ryan revealed that one was in good condition and the other was in critical condition.

A high school football coach told NBC News that one of the injured was Cavaliers running back Michael Hollins. Hollins is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana native.

Jones, 22, was taken into custody by Henrico County police in Richmond, Virginia. He was taken into custody “without incident” just before 11 a.m., according to authorities. The arrest occurred about 75 miles southeast of the UVA campus, the department reported.