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UVA students process campus tragedy: 'We will never be over it'

Posted at 8:10 AM, Nov 15, 2022

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Grief blanketed the campus of the University of Virginia on Monday after a shooter took the lives of three student-athletes and injured two more students Sunday night.

“It's just been kind of eerie," said Syrell Grier, a student at UVA.

"Just feel like the energy is really off," added another UVA student, Ivy Armstrong.

UVA Police said fellow student, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., shot the five students in a parking garage on school grounds after a charter bus with the students on it had just returned from a trip to Washington D.C.

Jones was arrested in Henrico County after an extensive manhunt.

UVA President Jim Ryan identified the slain student-athletes as D'Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr., and Devin Chandler. The two other students shot have not been identified.

Ryan announced classes and other activities on campus would be canceled on Tuesday.

UVA memorial Scott Stadium

Just down the street from this crime scene, St. Paul's Memorial Church was “open for prayer."

Mark Wastler, an episcopal chaplain at the church, said, "Our first impulse as a clergy staff was to open the building so that young people and the entire community had a place that they could come that was safe, and that they were able to express their grief and to pray.”

It was a comforting sight for students like Grier.

"That helps me knowing that, you know, their support, like they're like that out there. I'm not personally that religious but still, just to know that there are people out there who are willing to help us through these trying times is really good to know," Grier said.

Armstrong said, "I feel like no one really knows how to go about this normally, like, I walked outside, and I feel like you just kind of stare at people and you know, everyone's gone through the same thing. She added, "I’ve been saying prayers in my head.”

"This kind of grief is not something that's going to go away overnight. It's going to take a community to heal. We will never be over it. The families that have lost those that they love will never get over this," said Wastler.

St. Paul's held a memorial service at 5:30 Monday night.

Students and other citizens of Charlottesville have started to lay flowers at Scott Stadium as a makeshift memorial for the students who were killed.

A candlelight vigil was held Monday night on UVA's South Lawn. Hundreds attended to pay their respects.

This article was written by Laura French for WTVR.