CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Hours after a shelter-in-place order was lifted at the University of Virginia (UVA), students gathered at a silent vigil to support one another and honor the lives of three students who were shot and killed.
Before UVA student — and former football team member — Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was taken into custody in Henrico County on Monday morning, the Charlottesville campus was on lockdown. For over 12 hours, UVA students were told to stay put as the manhunt continued.
A senior at the university, Matthew Natalie, told 8News that this was an experience that was overwhelming and scary for him and his peers.
“It was just a lot to take in at once, we didn’t know anything for sure so you couldn’t even really comprehend what was happening until kind of like today when a little more information came out and there was a little bit more to go off of,” Natalie said.
Although the shooting and the initiation of the lockdown were on Sunday night, it wasn’t until Monday that students realized exactly what had happened while they were on lockdown.
Once they received word that Lavel Davis, Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler had been killed as a result of the shooting, students began to take action. Some were seen creating banners that included the names and numbers of the student-athletes who lost their lives. Other banners simply read, “Virginia strong.”
On Monday night, the campus held a silent vigil where hundreds of students gathered to pay their respects and honor the lives of their fellow students.
Another senior 8News spoke with, Tate Snyder, was one of the many students in the crowd who came together to show support for one another.
“Kind of like makes you feel like you are part of this close-knit community of UVA,” Snyder said.