‘A nightmare’: UVA head football coach mourns deaths of 3 players


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NewsNation) — Head coach Tony Elliott shared memories of the UVA shooting victims, saying it all felt like a “nightmare.”

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Elliott said he’s focused on staying in touch with the families of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry, who police say were killed by a former team member.

When asked if the team’s schedule would continue, Director of Athletics Carla Williams said the decision would be made “soon.”

The suspect who allegedly killed the three football players at the University of Virginia is set to have his bond hearing Wednesday morning in Charlottesville.

Police charged 22-year-old student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. with three counts of second-degree murder, saying the three victims were killed just after 10:15 p.m. as a charter bus full of students returned from seeing a play in Washington. Two other students were wounded.

University President Jim Ryan said authorities did not have a “full understanding” of the motive or circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Police conducted a building-by-building search of the campus while students sheltered in place before the lockdown order was lifted late Monday morning.

University Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said the suspect had once been on the football team, but he had not been part of the team for at least a year. The UVA football website listed Jones as a team member during the 2018 season and said he did not play in any games.

Jones was on the university’s radar back in September when someone told the school he had a gun but no one ever saw the weapon nor did it come along with a threat, Longo Sr. said in a press conference Monday.

“It’s just heartbreaking to see three young boys — had a whole future ahead of them — just to see them gone, it’s just heartbreaking,” UVA football player Aaron Faumui said while wiping tears from his eyes.

UVA students in Charlottesville were overcome with grief Tuesday morning, decorating the campus with black ribbons and banners with the players’ numbers.

“We are really hurting, badly. And just to anyone watching, hug your loved ones,” UVA student Bijan Boroumand said.

On Monday night, the community gathered for a vigil to remember the three football players. Among the victims was wide receiver and NFL prospect Lavel Davis Jr. of South Carolina.

“His smile, his work ethic was just second to none,” Davis’ high school teammate Rodney Mooney said. “He was always a builder, not a divider. He always wanted to see the best out of himself. He wanted to see the best out of everybody around.”

Linebacker D’Sean Perry of Miami was also killed, along with wide receiver Devin Chandler of Virginia Beach.

“He was a brother. We fought hard on the same team together and you know, it’s tough, It’s tough,” another teammate said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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