‘Three beautiful, young human beings’: UVA coach addresses deadly shooting
No decision has been made about this weekend’s football game
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WWBT) - University of Virginia football coach Tony Elliott said Tuesday that losing three players in a shooting Sunday “feels like a nightmare.”
“My heart is hurting right now,” he said at a news conference alongside athletic director Carla Williams.
He said the team is finding ways to celebrate the lives of linebacker D’Sean Perry, wide receiver Lavel “Tyler” Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler.
WATCH: Elliott makes his opening statement about Sunday’s shooting:
“It’s a nightmare, to be honest with you,” said Elliott. “I’m ready for someone to pinch me and wake me up and say that this didn’t happen.”
Two other people were also injured in the incident. Mike Hollins underwent a second surgery on Tuesday. There’s currently no information on the other person who was hurt.
WATCH: Elliott reflects on the lives of Perry, Davis and Chandler:
Coach Elliott described the grieving process the team is going through as they try to wrap their head around what unfolded on Sunday evening.
“The first meeting was really, really tough,” said Coach Elliott fighting back tears. “Today was much better. We were able to transition from the pain to finding a little bit of joy in celebrating the lives of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin.”
Coach Elliott also reflected on the light these three players brought to the team and those on UVA Grounds.
Coach Elliott said Lavel had a big smile and would light up the room.
“Just his presence, he’s got a gentleness about him,” he said. “He’s passionate about what he believes in.”
Coach Elliott described D’Sean as a special person who was “very, very artistic.”
“Just a great teammate and had a sense of humor that was one-of-a-kind,” he said.
Coach Elliott also described Devin as a “big kid” who smiled all the time.
“He always brought a smile to my face because he just was happy with where he was, comfortable in his skin and had a bubbly personality,” he said during the press conference.
UVA is scheduled to play Coastal Carolina this weekend, but a decision about whether to play or not has not been made.
“That will be a discussion between coach and the team,” Williams said. “We’ll make a decision soon.”
Watch the full press conference:
At this moment, Coach Elliott is also focused on wrapping his arms around those on the football team to make sure no one is alone as they grieve the loss of “three beautiful, young human beings.”
“When you prepare for this job, there’s no chapter on a situation like this,” he said. “I’m just trying to figure out, step by step, how to be strong for these young men.”
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