Before the shooting on Sunday night, the University of Virginia student accused of killing three football players and injuring two others allegedly inquired about a video game.
Gordon McKernan, a family friend of Mike Hollins, who is in critical condition on a ventilator after being shot, told Sports Illustrated that the alleged gunman, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., waited for his victims to return from a field trip to Washington, DC.
“The suspect, who apparently may not have been a part of the class but was on the trip … he was asking one of the football players about a video game,” McKernan said.
“The guy answered, and at that moment, he pulled a gun and started shooting. The belief from those on board was that he was targeting football players.”
The shooting killed three students: Devin Chandler of Virginia Beach, Lavel “Tyler” Davis of Dorchester, South Carolina, and D’Sean Perry of Miami, Florida.
Jones Jr., a former Virginia walk-on running back in 2018, was apprehended on Monday morning after a 12-hour manhunt. He is being held at the Henrico County Jail on three counts of second-degree murder.
Hollins was shot in the back and sustained injuries to his abdomen, where the bullet is thought to have exited his body. McKernan said he had surgery on Sunday and will have another on Tuesday.
“Mike was towards the front of the bus. Mike survived because he was farther away from the shooter,” McKernan said. “The other three were seated closer to the shooter.”
Witnesses on the bus told Hollins’ mother, Brenda, the gunman seemed to specifically be targeting members of the football team, McKernan said.
“The first thing he asked about was his three teammates,” McKernan said.
A motive for the shooting has not yet been determined.