Hell came for college football on Sunday, as it often does in many corners of American society.
On Saturday, the University of Virginia played Pittsburgh in a home football game. On Sunday, some Cavalier players boarded a charter bus with non-athletes as part of a class field trip to watch a play in Washington, D.C.
When the bus returned to campus on Sunday night, everything exploded.
A gunner. Bus shooting. Three dead students, each football player. Two others were injured, at least one of whom was a player. In the hunt for a shooter, himself a former player at UVA, someone who hasn’t been in the program for at least a year.
In a sheltered order that shakes up the gorgeous grounds of this beautiful campus and moves a sport to its core.
Questions abound. Answers are almost non-existent. Pain cannot be easily quantified.
Three young lives are over. Three bright futures extinguished.
“Devastation,” Virginia coach Tony Elliott described in a statement. “Heartache.”
De Sean Perry, a junior linebacker from Miami, LaVall Davis, a star wide receiver from South Carolina, and Devin Chandler, a Virginia Beach native and wide receiver who returned to his home state from Wisconsin, died, two of them still dead. in the bus
One of the injured running backs, Mike Hollins of Baton Rouge, La., is in good condition, The Advocate newspaper reports. Another student is in critical condition.
The shooter was arrested without incident Monday afternoon, 75 miles away near Richmond, Virginia, just days shy of his 21st birthday.
There will be time to understand what happened, how it happened and why it happened. The alleged gunman has been charged with three counts of murder.
“There will be unanswered questions,” UVA Police Chief Tim Longo said. “We do not yet have a full understanding of the motive and circumstances surrounding this incident.”
Maybe it will come, not that there is an answer that will change anything and bring back the lives that were taken too soon. There is nothing that can really mean these actions. Never has.
What would, for all intents and purposes, cause someone who rose to one of the best and most prestigious universities in the country, UVA, to engage in this kind of act against his fellow students and not just end their lives? ?
“[They were] “They enjoyed a day of school activities inside a charter bus, ate together, and then returned to our grounds,” Longo said. “Then one of them decided to commit violence.”
When an off-campus school field trip is considered dangerous, even by some of the biggest and strongest men around, what is safe and where is safe, will this country ever find a way to end this epidemic of death. Damn?
Longo said the shooter has met with the university’s “threat assessment team” twice in recent years.
It was for a report that he was once in possession of a gun and some other type of weapon to be involved in a hazing incident. Both inquiries led nowhere. The roommate said he never saw the gun and that the investigation ended due to lack of cooperation. No “concealed weapons violation” outside of Charlottesville was ever reported to campus authorities, Longo said.
Now this. Now three families are headed to a campus where they once dropped off their sons to play Division I football and receive a world-class education. This is the kind of program where Sundays can be spent not just preparing for the next opponent, but for educational enrichment.
Now that the football team is left without one of its biggest personalities, the three kids are admired by fellow students and professors alike for their academic curiosity and everyday joy. Games seem more pointless.
“These were incredible young men with great ambitions and very bright futures,” Elliott said. “Our hearts go out to their families, their classmates and their friends … They have touched us, inspired us and worked incredibly hard as representatives of our program, university and community.”
Elliott has been like many other authorities over the years. Broken down not knowing what to say through these unimaginable situations that happen and happen. All anyone can do is hope it doesn’t happen to them. Throughout the day Monday, coaches and players across the sport offered their thoughts and condolences. Can’t say anything else.
My heart breaks for the victims and their families. said UVA President James Ryan. “… This is an extraordinarily difficult day for our community.”
This time it came to Virginia. This time to college football. This time until next time, another wave of grief and tragedy has hit someone, somewhere.