Governor Youngkin gets emotional at UVA memorial: 'It’s just horrific'

Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 12:43:56-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin got emotional Tuesday when he arrived at a makeshift memorial outside Scott Stadium to drop off flowers to honor the memories of the University of Virginia football players killed in a Sunday night shooting.

"It’s just horrific," Youngkin said about the shootings that killed student-athletes Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry and injured two others. "I know that there’s nothing that can be said, there’s nothing to be done in order to bring them any kind of comfort today. And so, I think this is a moment for us to come together to support them, pray for them, recognize that as a community this is a community to come together and grief and support them. It’s just horrific, there’s no other way to describe it.”

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin visits a memorial for slain UVA students on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

Students, football fans, and members of the UVA community also arrived at the memorial to contribute flowers and notes.

"That feeling of grief is something new and especially for people that you didn’t even know. It’s a strange feeling," UVA student
Lucia Gabel said. “It’s where you live. It’s where you live. And somebody came and shot people."

Gabel said while the shooting has left her feeling less safe at school, she does feel supported.

While classes are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, students will not be required to complete any graded assignments or take exams before Thanksgiving break.

The university is planning to host a community-wide event to honor the victims, but those details were still being finalized.

UVA Shooting Suspect

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Police said Jones, a former member of the school's football team, shot and killed three current team members and wounded two other students, one of them also a football player.

The prosecutor handling the case, Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney James Hingeley, said in an email that in addition to previously announced second-degree murder and firearms charges, Jones also faces two counts of malicious wounding and additional gun-related charges.

Online records did not list a defense attorney who could speak on behalf of Jones, who remained in custody Tuesday.

If Jones is financially eligible for court-appointed counsel, an attorney will be appointed Wednesday, Hingeley wrote. The hearing may also involve a preliminary bail review, he said.

Gov. Youngkin ordered flags around the state lowered to half-staff.

The university has identified the three slain students as Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry. Head football coach Tony Elliott said they were all “incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures.”

Hingeley also identified the fourth and fifth surviving victims, one of whom is a football team member. Jones faces the malicious wounding and related gun charges in connection with the attack on those survivors.

Jones came to the attention of the university’s threat-assessment team this fall in the context of a review of a “potential hazing issue,” the university said in a statement provided to the AP on Tuesday.

During that review, university officials heard from a student that Jones made a comment about having a gun. That student did not report Jones making any threat, according to the statement. University officials investigated and subsequently discovered Jones had previously been tried and convicted of a misdemeanor concealed weapons violation in 2021.

“Throughout the investigation, Mr. Jones repeatedly refused to cooperate with University officials who were seeking additional information about the claims that he had a firearm and about his failure to disclose the previous misdemeanor conviction. Accordingly, on October 27, the Threat Assessment Team escalated his case for disciplinary action,” the statement said.

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