UVA to pay $9 million for 2022 campus filming

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia. (AP) – The University of Virginia will pay $9 million in a settlement related to a 2022 campus shooting that killed three football players and injured two students, an attorney representing some of the victims and their families.

But some families are demanding more: the immediate release of an independent investigation into the shooting that concluded last year. Its focus included the university’s efforts to assess the potential threat posed by the student who was ultimately charged with murder, as well as recommendations based on what was learned.

Kimberly Wald, an attorney who represents some families, said the university should have removed the alleged shooter from campus before the attack because he displayed several red flags due to his erratic and unstable behavior.

“This settlement today is just one small step for these families — there is much to be done,” said Wald, an attorney with the Miami-based Haggard Law Firm. “If there’s even one lesson we can learn from this report, it’s that we need to know it now… We need to protect lives now. »

University officials delayed releasing the report last year, fearing it would affect the alleged shooter’s upcoming trial.

“We are committed to providing it as soon as we can be sure that it will not interfere in any way with the criminal proceedings,” UVA President Jim Ryan said last fall.

The Charlottesville school will pay $2 million each to the families of the three deceased students, the maximum allowed under Virginia law, said Wald, who represents the estate of D’Sean Perry. The other two students who died were Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr.

The university will pay a total of $3 million to the two injured students, Mike Hollins, fourth-ranked member of the football team, and Marlee Morgan, whom Wald also represents.

The settlement was negotiated outside of court and did not follow the filing of a lawsuit, Wald said. However, any settlement in Virginia must be approved by a judge. The settlement with UVA was accepted by an Albemarle County Circuit Court judge Friday afternoon.

The agreements were also approved by the governor of Virginia. Glenn Younkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares, the university said in a statement.

UVA Provost Robert Hardie and President Ryan said in a statement Friday that the three students’ lives “were tragically cut short” and that the young men “have always been in our minds.”

“We will always remember the impact that Devin, Lavel and D’Sean had on our community, and we are grateful for the times they spent in our presence elevating UVA through their time in the classroom and on the football field,” the statement said. said.

Police said Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a UVA student and former member of the school’s football team, was responsible for the shooting. It happened when he and others were returning by charter bus to campus after an excursion to see a play in Washington, authorities said.

The violence that broke out near a parking lot sparked panic and 12 hour confinement from campus to the suspect was captured. His trial on murder and other charges is scheduled for January.

Days after the shooting, university leaders asked for an outside opinion investigating UVA’s security policies and procedures, its response to the violence and its prior efforts to assess the potential threat of the student who was ultimately charged. Previously, school officials were on the radar of the university’s threat assessment team.

The report was completed in October and UVA said it would release it in November. But UVA’s position changed due to concerns about affecting Jones’ trial.

Happy Perry, who lost his son D’Sean Perry, said Friday the report should be released now if it can help prevent similar shootings.

“As a mother, I want to know what happened. It’s my right to know what happened,” she said during a Zoom call with reporters. “At this point, it’s a matter of public safety and national security that we get this report.”

Brenda Hollins, whose son Mike Hollins was shot and wounded, said she felt mixed emotions Friday following the deal. And she talked about how all the families were devastated and transformed.

“You put on a smile and throughout the day you might be able to move forward,” Hollins said on the Zoom call. “But then it comes over you. And if you can’t do it in that moment, then it consumes you. »

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