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UVA Honors Fallen Students at Football Game After Shooting

UVA+Honors+Fallen+Students+at+Football+Game+After+Shooting
AP Photo/Steve Helber

On Nov. 13, 2022 the University of Virginia community experienced tragedy. On the way home from a field trip, students Mike Hollins and Marlee Morgan were injured, and UVA football players Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. were killed by a gunman and former UVA football player. 

UVA’s main campus and grounds were immediately put into lockdown. Valley alum and UVA sophomore, Alison Pike, recounted hiding in her dorm room with her roommate during the lockdown. This lockdown lasted for 12 hours as police searched for the gunman.

“We honestly thought the shooting wasn’t real at first. But then we realized it was real when they said ‘run, fight, hide,’” Pike said. 

“We definitely came together a lot within the first week of the shooting,” Pike said. “It was definitely very emotional for everyone.” Pike noted how UVA came together days after the shooting in attending the memorial service for the students who passed. 

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Nearly 10 months later, UVA played their second football game since the shooting against JMU, one of their biggest rivals. It was announced that there would be a pregame ceremony for the fallen and injured students. UVA President Jim Ryan and Athletic Director Carla Williams spoke in the ceremony. 

“Everything that Jim Ryan has ever said about the players and honoring them has been so monumental and memorializes the players very well,” Pike said.

The day before the game, a memorial tree was planted on the UVA grounds for the players who passed away. After the tree planting, the marching band led a “Paint the Town Orange” pep rally in Downtown Charlottesville, where the football team made an appearance.

On the day of the game, the stadium did many things to honor the players who died. 

“They were handing out shirts that said ‘UVA strong’ to all the students — which is the motto that we go by now, for the players that passed away.” Pike said. “And I felt like it was very important to honor them.” 

JMU stuck stickers on their helmets honoring the fallen players, and the players’ numbers were hung up in the back of the stadium. 

Kadie Cameron, a junior at Valley who went to the game, and whose sister attends UVA, was asked about the different ways the team honored the players. Cameron said, “I think it was really good especially since they showed their support.”

“It was a really good – very intense – game between JMU and UVA,” Cameron said.

 The game was very close, ending in a 1-point win over UVA by JMU. 

Mike Hollins, one of the students who was injured in the shooting, is a member of the football team and played in the game with a miraculous recovery. 

“Mike Hollins, who got shot, made a touchdown, and me and all my friends were so happy for him,” Pike said.“When those football players play, they are doing it for those players who passed away.”

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