How UVA Students are Healing After The Shooting

Abby Burtner, Sports Editor

On Sunday, Nov. 13, 22-year old alleged gunman Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. killed UVA Cavaliers Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. on the main campus. The students were returning from a field trip when Jones opened fire on the bus, first killing Chandler in his sleep.

He then allegedly proceeded to kill Perry and Darnell, reportedly having said something around the lines of “you guys keep messing with me” according to an eyewitness. 

Jones additionally shot and injured Michael Hollins, as well as Marlee Morgan, CNN reported. Hollins is said to be in stable condition and on the road to recovery, while Morgan’s parents have not yet released any information.

Memorials have been posted around the school in loving memory of the students killed.

The shooting impacted the student body; former Forge students Grace Park (‘22) and Sophie Penton (‘22) share their experiences with the lockdown and the aftermath, and how they find ways to distract themselves, as well as the transition back to classes. 

“It was just a normal Sunday full of studying, I had just gone out to get dinner with my friends,” Sophie said.

Not knowing what had happened, both students received emails about the shooting and disregarded them, thinking it was a false alarm.

That was until the next email was sent out.

“I read ‘RUN HIDE FIGHT’ then my heart absolutely sank. I was petrified,” Sophie said.

Various emotions overwhelmed students all over campus.

“I was in disbelief, I never imagined that my school would be on the news for a shooting. I was just thinking how crazy this situation is and I honestly really missed my family and friends,” Grace said.

The dorms and other buildings around campus were still on lockdown for 12 hours due to the shooter still being on the loose.

“The dining halls were closed too so we had to just eat whatever we had like chips and ramen for the first few days since we were so scared to leave our dorms,” Grace said.

The suspect was caught early Nov. 14, and the lockdown lifting the lockdown at 10:33 am, but that didn’t provide much stability or feelings of safety for students.

“They caught the guy midday Monday, but everyone was still left scared, and it was really tough to resume back to normal. It’s just been really difficult to navigate the entire situation and the healing process as a whole. Survivor’s guilt has been a serious thing for a lot of us. It was really hard to see that; you never expect it to be your school,” Sophie said.

While most students were still healing and processing everything, the university didn’t count absences Monday, Tuesday, and classes resumed Wednesday.

However, students are still dealing with the effects of the shooting emotionally and mentally, while trying to transition back to classes.  

Some students were crying while walking to and from class that week. The atmosphere and mood around campus was really sad and depressing,

— Grace Park

“Honestly, the first couple days were difficult because the whole school was mourning,” Sophie said. 

As a way to deal with the mental toll of the shooting, students have found themselves looking for ways of distraction. 

“I keep thinking about the players who passed away and thinking how this terrible thing could happen. I’ve distracted myself by talking to my roommate, listening to music, and focusing on my schoolwork,” Grace said. 

Although the community has been trying to get back into the flow of things, the lives of the students that were lost that day continue to be celebrated and be remembered. 

“We’ve been out and visited the unofficial memorial services, where we lit candles in front of the rotunda and there were also lots of flowers in front of the football stadium,” Grace said. 

An official memorial service was held inside the John Paul Jones Arena and UVA’s annual 5K ran on Nov. 19, was dedicated to remembering D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler.