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Hough High graduate identified as one of three killed in U-Va. shooting

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Devin Chandler
University of Virginia
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Devin Chandler

A football player who graduated from Hough High School in Cornelius has been identified as one of the three University of Virginia students killed in a mass shooting late Sunday.

University President Jim Ryan said in a news conference Monday that Devin Chandler, who had lived in Huntersville, was among the dead.

"My heart is broken for the victims and their families," said Ryan.

Chandler was a local football standout in high school. He transferred to Hough from high school in Tennessee for his senior season. At Hough, he notched 14 touchdowns and 905 receiving yards. He was first-team I-Meck Conference in 2019.

Hough Coach Matthew Jenkins said Chandler was "an outstanding young man" who inspired his team.

"He had an infectious personality, an unbelievable smile," said Jenkins, speaking outside Hough. "Somebody else would score and he'd be running down the field from 50 yards, waving his arms everywhere and, and he was excited for them as if he had scored."

Hough quarterback Tad Hudson, a senior, is the only member of this year's team who played on the field with Chandler. He recalled that Chandler was the first to encourage him freshman year, after Hudson had to step in when the starting quarterback got injured.

"He always put a smile on everybody's face. Always dancing in the locker room. Great guy. Made everybody feel like family," said Hudson.

Hough is in the third round of the state high school football playoffs this weekend. Jenkins said players will put a special decal on the back of their helmets to remember Chandler.

According to the Cavalier's athletics website, Chandler was a junior who played wide receiver for Virginia. He had previously played football at the University of Wisconsin before transferring to Virginia this year.

While at Wisconsin, Chandler had another standout moment near his hometown. In the 2020 Duke’s Mayo Bowl, played at Bank of America Stadium, Chandler returned a kickoff for 59 yards, helping the Badgers defeat Wake Forest 42-28.

The other victims killed were Lavel Davis Jr., a wide receiver from Dorchester, South Carolina, and linebacker D'Sean Perry, of Miami. All of the victims were football players.

"The shootings occurred on a bus full of students returning from a field trip," Ryan said.

Two other students were shot. One is in critical condition while the other is in good condition, Ryan said.

The suspect, Chris Darnell Jones, was taken into custody after a 13-hour manhunt Monday morning, police said.

WFAE reporter David Boraks contributed to this story.

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Ely Portillo has worked as a journalist in Charlotte for over a decade. Before joining WFAE, he worked at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Charlotte Observer.