CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCSC/WVIR) - Authorities have confirmed a former Woodland High School student was one of three University of Virginia students killed Sunday night in a shooting on campus.
Lavel Davis Jr., a wide receiver with the UVA Cavaliers, died from his injuries in the shooting, University President Jim Ryan said during a news conference Monday morning.
The suspect in the shooting, identified as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., has been taken into custody, authorities said during the news conference.
“The shootings occurred on a bus full of students returning from a field trip,” Ryan said. “Three of the victims did not survive.”
He said the other victims were Devin Chandler, a second-year student from Virginia Beach; and D’Sean Perry, a fourth-year student from Miami.
All three victims were members of the football team, Ryan said.
Mathis Burnette, who spent five years as head coach of Woodland High School before becoming athletic director with Stratford High School said on Twitter Monday morning there “are no words to express the grief that the Woodland community is feeling right now.”
“Everything about Lavel Davis was first class and the world is a sadder place because he is gone,” he tweeted. “Prayers for everyone in the Davis family and the Woodland Community.”
Newberry College Tight Ends Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Sean Lampkin also posted about Davis on Twitter.
“Saddening, saddening news this morning. God took one of his most kind, humble, loving soldiers off of the battlefield last night,” the tweet states. “Please pray for my family as we are devastated by the passing my cousin Lavel Davis Jr. Love and already miss you, kid.”
Davis was a former wide receiver for Woodland High School and earned all-state honors after making 40 catches for 622 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior and was selected ot play in South Carolina’s North-South all-star game. He also played basketball and ran track for Woodland High school.
Davis was a junior at UVA, according to the team’s website. In 2020, he appeared in eight of UVA’s 10 games with seven starts, finishing number two in the nation and number one in the ACC with 25.74 yards per reception average, the site states. He did not appear in any games in 2021 because of an injury.
Davis was one of the top prospects in the Lowcountry in 2019 when he made his college commitment to the University of Virginia. Davis said he chose the Vacaliers over Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Central Florida.
The shooting happened on Culbreth Road about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, WVIR-TV reported.
Ryan identified Jones as the suspect in the shooting early Monday morning.
In a message to students sent out early Monday morning, Ryan said Jones remained at large and was considered armed and dangerous. He was last seen wearing a burgondy jacket, blue jeans and red shoes and may be driving a black SUV with Virginia license plate TWX3580, the message stated.
“This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia,” President Jim Ryan said in a letter posted to social media. “This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies said they are coordinating to find and apprehend Jones, who was listed as a member of the UVA football team in 2018.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents were responding to the campus to assist in the investigation.
“A complete search on and around UVA Grounds” by law enforcement was underway, the university’s police department Twitter account said, and they urged people on campus to remain sheltered.
Classes for Monday were canceled. Nearby school districts have also canceled classes.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has released a statement sending his thoughts and prayers to the UVA community.
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