University of Virginia fifth-year running back Mike Hollins said Tuesday it’s a “miracle” that he’s able to return to the practice field, four months after surviving a shooting that killed three of his football teammates.
“It’s literally a miracle that I’m here today and just living that out,” Hollins told reporters after practice.
“I just feel really blessed to be back on ground and to be able to continue my dreams, my former teammates’ dreams. A lot of blessings in some tough times that are hard to see, but I try to continue to move forward.”
Hollins, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was one of two people wounded when a fellow student opened fire on a bus returning to Charlottesville, Virginia, from a class field trip, killing football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.
The deaths of Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry left three enormous holes on a team that felt more like family than anything, said University of Virginia head coach Tony Elliott. He went on to describe them, calling Chandler “the life of the party,” Davis “the big man on campus” and Perry “the quiet guy everyone wanted to know about.”
Hollins also added that he considered leaving the school to get a fresh start but decided it was best for him to stay.
“I feel like anyone would think about leaving after something like that. But I also thought what better place to re-find who I am and reestablish my mental than the place that everything took place,” Hollins said.
The running back, who was hospitalized for days, learned about the deaths of his teammates days after the shooting.
“I’ve never cried like that before,” Hollins told ABC. “I mean, I lost a brother that day. I love Lavel with all my heart, love Devin with all my heart. But D’Sean – it was different with him.”
“That was my brother,” Hollins said, getting visibly emotional. “It was tragic hearing that he was gone.”
The suspect in the University of Virginia shooting, former UVA walk-on football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., faces three charges of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, authorities said. Jones also faces two counts of malicious wounding, each accompanied by a firearm charge.
Jones had his first court appearance on November 16 and a court ordered that he be held without bond.