CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- For Lawrence Jonhson, covering UVA Cavaliers sports has been a passion he's made a part of his life for the past decade.
"They blessed me with the opportunity, being independent, to cover the university," Johnson said.
The Hampton Roads man started a company, 7 Cities Shop Talk, to highlight players from his area at the school. More recently, he began hosting a daily Cavaliers podcast, called "Locked On Virginia" a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
On Sunday night, Johnson was preparing for his Monday which was supposed to be covering UVA basketball when the reports of the tragedy began to trickle in. Three UVA football players were killed and two others were injured in a shooting. The suspect in the shooting was a student and a former UVA football player.
"Just started hearing kind of horror stories, you know, what was going on," Johnson said. "To have this happen, I just couldn't imagine."
When Johnson woke up on Monday at 4 a.m., a lockdown and hunt for the suspect were still active. Despite this, Johnson said there was no doubt he would still do his show.
"This is one of the hardest things that I've ever had to do," Johnson said in the Monday show of his podcast, Locked On Virginia. "Love each other, man. It's all I can say is love each other. Listen to one another. Don't take it for granted, guys."
Johnson said he wanted to help get the information out, share his own emotions and talk about healing.
"It wasn't about sports at that time. It was just about people, caring and loving," Johnson said.
Johnson said in times like these, it goes beyond sports. He said he is offering prayers for everyone involved in their families. He adds that if he's learned one thing from his decade covering UVA, it's that the community will rally and come back stronger.
"They definitely get together and figure out, you know, what way to comfort each other. Because, it's about the comfort," Johnson said.
Johnson said he hopes people will show up in droves at whatever happens with the team's events, whether they play or hold a vigil to show support for the victim's families.
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