Home UVA agrees to pay out $9M to victims in Nov. 13, 2022, shootings

UVA agrees to pay out $9M to victims in Nov. 13, 2022, shootings

uva nov 13 graphic
(Background photo © David Matthew Lyons – stock.adobe.com/Player images courtesy UVA Athletics website)

The University of Virginia will pay out $9 million in a settlement related to the Nov. 13, 2022, shootings of five UVA students returning from a class field trip, and an attorney representing one of the victims wants one more thing from the school.

“The most important thing for these families, the thing that will really bring them closure, is to know what happened to their sons. It is time for UVA and the Commonwealth to release the report,” said Elliott Buckner, a lawyer for the family of D’Sean Perry, one of the three football student-athletes who was killed in the mass shooting.

The University, flexing its political and cultural sway, has actively resisted releasing a state-commissioned report conducted at UVA’s request that was completed and presented to school officials in October.

The Daily Progress, a Charlottesville-based newspaper, sued UVA in February to try to force the release of the report. The case will finally go to trial next month, after attempts by the University to have the petition dismissed.

“If they really want to do something that will benefit the families, then they will release that report,” Buckner said on Friday, after the settlement was formally approved in Albemarle Circuit Court.

The terms of the settlement will have UVA pay out $2 million each to the families of Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler, the three young men who were killed on the night of Nov. 13.

UVA will pay out $1.5 million each to the two other students injured in the shooting, Marlee Morgan and Mike Hollins.

Hollins was also a member of the football team at the time of the shooting.

After suffering life-threatening injuries that night, Hollins recovered and returned to the field for the UVA football program in the 2023 season, and went on to be named the recipient of the 2023 Brian Piccolo Award, an ACC honor named for the late Wake Forest running back made famous by the TV movie “Brian’s Song.”

The legal case against the alleged shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones, 24, who was a fifth-year UVA student at the time of the 2022 shootings, has been slow-moving. A special grand jury, in September, upgraded the original second-degree murder charges to aggravated murder, and the case is now scheduled to go to trial next January, more than two years after the shootings.

The date of the trial is significant in the context of the release of the report that has been requested by victims’ families. UVA officials have maintained that they will not release the report until after the criminal trial, a point of frustration for the families.

“As a mom, I want to know what happened. It is my right to know what happened,” Happy Perry, the mother of D’Sean Perry, told reporters on a Zoom call after Friday’s court hearing. “At this point, it is an issue of public safety and national security that we get that report.”

It would be presumed that the report would spell out what happened with the investigation by the University into a report that Jones was in possession of a gun in his dorm room.

It was discovered in the course of that investigation by UVA officials that Jones had been convicted in 2021 on a concealed weapons charge, and had not reported the conviction to the University as required.

The school prepared to refer the failure of Jones to report the conviction to a student-led judiciary committee for potential discipline, and after originally saying that this had been done, a school spokesperson later clarified that the matter had in fact not been referred to the committee for further action.

It also later emerged that Jones was able to legally buy two guns from a Colonial Heights gun dealer in 2022 as he was serving three active 12-month suspended sentences, including one on the concealed-weapons conviction, after twice attempting to purchase guns from the dealer, in 2018 and 2021, and being denied because he failed the background checks on those two attempts.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].