University of Virginia running back Mike Hollins has opened up about the shooting he survived at the university last month.
Hollins was on the charter bus that returned back to Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville on Nov. 13 when a student allegedly opened fire, killing three of Hollins’ teammates.
Hollins said on “Good Morning America” Thursday that he heard a few rounds of gunfire right as the bus was stopping, which is when he started trying to push his way off the bus.
"I felt so hopeless and so powerless in that moment ... I felt him hit me in my back ... But I just knew I wasn't goin' down without a fight."
UVA football player talks to @michaelstrahan about surviving shooting that killed three of his teammates. https://t.co/beEbUtpYDi pic.twitter.com/OrMgr1PRBQ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 15, 2022
"In that moment, I knew we had to get off that bus because it could get a lot worse," he said. "Me and another teammate were the only two to get off the bus. I turned back and I look over my shoulder, and I realize we're the only two running.
"I didn't really think much in that moment. It was just literally an instinct and a reaction to go back."
After stepping back on the bus to try and help, or at least figure out what had happened, Hollins said he ran right into the alleged shooter, Christopher Jones Jr.
“We locked eyes, and that was it. It was just a cold look. It was just a, I don’t know. It was just like a numb look,” Hollins said. “In that moment, I just dropped everything and took off running.”
Jones allegedly shot and killed three students — wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler, and linebacker D’Sean Perry — and injured two others. He has been charged with three felony counts of second-degree murder, among other things.
The Cavaliers canceled the rest of their season after the shooting, and traveled as a team to each of their respective funerals together. The university has since awarded those three honorary degrees, too.
Hollins was one of the people who was shot, and he was taken to a local hospital.
"I felt him hit me in my back," Hollins said. "But I just knew I wasn't going down without a fight. I found a pre-med student, and that was God again. She was there to help me. She kept me calm, kept my breathing under control, was checking my pulse until the ambulance came … I think I got hit in the small intestine, kidney, and they were trying to see if it damaged my bladder. By the grace of God, it missed my spine by like, two centimeters or something like that."
Hollins said he didn’t know his three teammates had died in the shooting until two days later, as he went right into surgery.
"I've never cried like that before," Hollins said. "I mean, I lost a brother that day. I loved Lavel with all my heart, loved Devin with all my heart. But D'Sean, it was different with him. Man, that was my brother. So, it was tragic hearing that he was gone."