UVA holds memorial service to honor 3 football players shot and killed

The University of Virginia held an on-campus memorial service on Saturday for the three football players who were shot and killed by an alleged gunman after a school field trip last weekend.

The service held at John Paul Jones Arena honored the lives of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D'Sean Perry. The ceremony also honored Mike Hollins Jr. and Marlee Morgan, the two students who were injured in the shooting. 

About 9,075 people attended the emotional service, which was open to the public.

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Earlier this week, UVA's president Jim Ryan released a video message about the tragedy.

"I hope you're taking care of yourselves, taking it easy on yourselves and leaning on each other. You've been through an extraordinary difficult experience, including the loss of three students and the injuries to two others, but also a 12-hour ordeal of shelter-in-place, and the fear of uncertainty that attended each one of those hours whether you were a student, faculty, staff member or parent," Ryan said in the four-minute video. 

Authorities say the students were shot late Sunday night as they returned to campus after traveling to D.C. by chartered bus to watch a play at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

According to investigators, once the chartered bus arrived at a parking lot on UVA's campus Sunday night, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a UVA student and former member of the football team who was on the trip, began shooting students on the bus.

UVA Shooting: Prosecutors say accused gunman Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. targeted victims

Jones, 23, faces second-degree murder and other charges stemming from the shooting, which set off a manhunt and 12-hour campus lockdown before Jones was apprehended in suburban Richmond. Jones is being held without bond.

A witness told police the gunman targeted specific victims, shooting one as he slept, a prosecutor said Wednesday at Jones’ first court appearance. Neither Jones nor his attorney addressed the charges in court.

Two other students were also injured in the shooting. One of those victims, Marlee Morgan, a female student, was treated and released from a hospital. The other, football player Mike Hollins Jr., underwent surgery and is recovering in the hospital. Hollins Jr. was "progressing positively" on Thursday and will hopefully begin to take some steps, according to Joe Gipson, a family spokesperson.

During Ryan's message, he also thanked UVA's student leaders for organizing a silent vigil Monday night on the South Lawn. 

UVA Shooting: Community mourns deaths of 3 football players during vigils

"There's nothing normal about what we're going through as a community," Ryan continued.

Ryan said support services for the students who were on the field trip, along with those directly impacted or closely associated with the victims of the violence, are being offered by the student affairs department. 

The Virginia athletics department also announced Wednesday that the Cavaliers' football game against Coastal Carolina has been canceled. The home game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, and would have been their final home game of the 2022 season.