CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — In a time of tragedy following the deaths of three University of Virginia students Sunday, a place of comfort during a campus vigil and prayer service.
Will Peyton serves as the campus director of St. Paul’s Memorial Church.
“We’re always open for students who need us,” Peyton told 10 On Your Side, as the parish gave students and the community a safe space Monday night to grieve the murders of football players Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr., while processing what happened.
“On an occasion like this, it’s important for us to throw our doors open and let others know who are not connected that they’re welcome here,” Peyton explained.
According to a recent story from UVAToday, the university’s official new site, the bus was carrying around 25 students and returning to Grounds from a Washington D. C. field trip when the shooting occurred. The students were coming home from having seen a play.
University Police Chief Tim Longo said Jones’ name also came up in a hazing claim, but that witnesses declined to cooperate. Jones was previously charged with a concealed-weapon violation off Grounds
Patsy Goolsby works in the university bookstore. She was returning from vacation when she learned the school was on lockdown.
“I’m just so numb that these things keep happening. It’s just awful. I was very grateful for the prayer service,” Goolsby stated.
Goolsby said a majority of the crowd who came out to Monday’s vigil were students. She said while it will take some time to heal and forgive, now is the time to lean on each other.
UVA has canceled Tuesday classes.