Support for the University community has poured in from local, state and national politicians and other universities following Sunday’s fatal shooting.
Three football players — second-year College student Devin Chandler, third-year College student Lavel Davis and fourth-year College student D'Sean Perry — were fatally shot Sunday evening. Third-year College student Mike Hollins and second-year College student Marlee Morgan were also injured in the shooting. After a search which lasted nearly 12 hours, Henrico Police arrested suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.
Several Virginia politicians took to Twitter to share statements of support following the shooting.
Governor Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares have shared statements following visits to Charlottesville. Youngkin also ordered Virginia and U.S. flags in the state to fly at half-staff Tuesday and visited the University to place flowers at a memorial in front of Scott Stadium earlier in the week.
“We had a horrific tragedy overnight at U.Va., lives were lost and families changed forever,” Youngkin said. “Due to the diligence and commitment of our law enforcement, the suspect is in custody. While there are still many details to uncover, let us lift up the entire community in prayer.”
Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Bob Good have asked people to pray for the victims and the University community, while Senator Mark Warner has emphasized the need for stricter gun laws in response to the shooting.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Warner said. “Gun violence continues to take too many lives. I strongly support honoring the lives lost to gun violence with action, and passing additional commonsense gun safety laws.”
Warner also held a press conference Thursday and denounced the frequency of mass shootings and highlighted the importance of having conversations about gun violence.
“It is, unfortunately, a crisis that takes place so many more times in America than any other industrial nation in the world,” Warner said. “And we need to have the kind of honest conversations on this kind of issue around gun violence where too often we talk past each other. But to the U.Va. community, to the Charlottesville community — I know how much hurting is going on.”
Warner mentioned several policies that could address gun violence, including encouraging more people to enter the field of mental health counseling, conducting appropriate background checks and placing reasonable restraints on assault weapons.
U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joseph Platania and Albemarle County’s Commonwealth Attorney James Hingeley also shared a joint statement in which they expressed their condolences for the victims and emphasized that they plan to “bring any potential charges in the appropriate jurisdiction.”
On a national level, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke on behalf of President Joe Biden and First Lady Joe Biden to offer condolences to the University community and call for further preventative measures against gun violence.
“The President and First Lady are mourning with the University of Virginia community after yet another deadly shooting in America has taken the lives of three young people,” Jean-Pierre said. “Our deepest condolences are with the countless families, friends, and neighbors grieving for those killed as well as those injured in this senseless shooting.”
The NAACP is also calling on U.S. governors to enact stricter gun control, citing the fact that gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black men.
“It is heartbreaking to see another young Black man lose his life at the hands of senseless gun violence,” the statement read. “Whether it is a domestic violence shooting or a racially motivated mass shooting — gun violence is taking countless lives, deteriorating our security and undermining our democracy.”
Schools across Virginia and the nation have expressed their condolences and support for the University community. Virginia Tech University, a longtime rival of the University, expressed its support for the University with the slogan “#HokiesforHoos” appearing on social media posts and sports uniforms. Other universities and colleges also publicly expressed their support, including James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Coastal Carolina University, Liberty University, the University of Michigan, Syracuse University and University of Wisconsin, among others.
Virginia Tech President Tim Sands expressed his solidarity in a joint statement with the Virginia Tech Rector Letitia Long.
“As we all know too well, the end of the incident is the beginning of a long period of caring, healing and learning,” Sands said. “I know we will be with our colleagues at U.Va. throughout that process.”