Hundreds of University of Virginia students, alumni and other community members gathered on the South Lawn on Saturday morning before a memorial run to honor the victims of Sunday night’s mass shooting: Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr.
“Today’s run is in honor of D’Sean, Devin and Lavel,” said UVa President Jim Ryan, a marathon runner who regularly runs with students.
The run was held in conjunction with the annual Fourth Year 5K, which is held in the memory of Leslie Baltz, a fourth-year student who died as a result of alcohol consumption.
Runners bundled up against the cold before starting the three-mile race, which would take them from the Range rooms at the center of Grounds to South Lawn, where they could enjoy food, drinks and support from their community.
“It’s hard to find the words as we gather together...but we are grateful to have each other,” one of the race’s organizers said as participants waited to start. “Our community remains strong.”
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The run’s coordinators sent a message of healing to the university community. “We’re here to remember, but we’re also here to take that first step forward,” one said.
The runners observed a moment of silence before walking to the starting line at the west Range rooms.
It was the second time in fewer than 24 hours that members of the UVa community gathered on South Lawn to remember Chandler, Perry and Davis and to support one another in their time of grief.
Friday evening at 7, the Cavalier Marching Band gathered with alumni members of the band to raise people up and to experience healing and togetherness through music. Band members attached lights to their music, and in some cases, friends and supporters held up cellphone lights to illuminate the darkness so musicians could read their music.
The band played four songs, including “You Raise Me Up,” popularized by singer Josh Groban, and “Amazing Grace,” the traditional hymn often played at gatherings of all kinds, but particularly at funerals and memorial services.
The horns swelled to an emotional crescendo in the final verse as people in the crowd stood on the hill overlooking South Lawn and listened in silence.
On Saturday afternoon, UVa held a memorial service in the John Paul Jones Arena at 3:30 p.m. for the shooting victims. Thousands of people attended, including members of the victims’ families, teammates, students, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and members of the Board of Visitors.