Maryland football coach Mike Locksley says University of Virginia shooting feels ‘really personal’

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland football coach Mike Locksley on Tuesday said the shooting at the University of Virginia, which killed three football players and wounded two other people, feels “really personal.”

Tragedy struck the university late Sunday night when Cavaliers junior wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler and junior defensive end-linebacker D’Sean Perry were shot and killed by a former player and current student as they returned from a field trip, authorities said. The incident caused a 12-hour lockdown of the campus until the suspect was captured on Monday.


“When things like this happen, it puts a lot of things into perspective, especially for me, having to be a dad that lost a son to gun violence,” Locksley said Tuesday. “I talked about it with our team yesterday, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

From left, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry. (AP)

In 2017, Locksley’s son, Meiko, was shot and killed in Columbia at the age of 25. Although no one has been arrested for the killing, a federal grand jury indicted a man accused of lying under oath about Meiko’s murder in September. Prosecutors charged John Willie Kennedy Jr., 44, of Gaithersburg, with obstruction of justice and obstruction of an official proceeding, according to a Sept. 21 indictment.


The shooting at Virginia happened at a time when the nation is on edge from a string of mass shootings during the last six months, including an attack that killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; a shooting at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb that killed seven people and wounded more than 30; and a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people and wounded three.

On Sunday, police discovered the bodies of four University of Idaho students as they responded to a report of an unconscious person at a home steps away from the campus. Police disclosed on Tuesday that they were found dead in an off-campus home, were targeted and the killer or killers used a knife or other “edged weapon.”

Maryland football coach Mike Locksley, whose son, Meiko, was shot and killed in Columbia in 2017 at the age of 25, said the killing of three University of Virginia football players on Sunday feels "really personal."

While University of Virginia students were told to shelter in place, police searched for the gunman through the night as students sought safety in closets, dorm rooms, libraries and apartments. Officials got word during a Monday morning news briefing that the suspect, a 22-year-old man, had been arrested.

The person arrested had once been on the football team, but he had not been part of the team for at least a year, university Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said. The University of Virginia football website listed him as a team member during the 2018 season and said he did not play in any games.

“I’ve come to know [University of Virginia football] coach [Tony] Elliott personally over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his staff, their football program and then the [University of Virginia] community, especially to the families that lost children,” Locksley said.

The Terps, who long considered the Cavaliers their rival during their decades in the Atlantic Coast Conference, will host UVA in Week 3 next season on Sept. 16.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.