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Virginia RB Mike Hollins in Critical Condition After Charlottesville Shooting

Virginia RB Mike Hollins in Critical Condition After Charlottesville Shooting

The junior running back from Baton Rouge, La., will undergo a second surgical procedure on Tuesday.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia running back Mike Hollins is in critical condition, on a ventilator and will undergo a second surgical procedure on Tuesday for a gunshot wound suffered Sunday night, a family friend told Sports Illustrated on Monday night.

“It’s been a long 24 hours,” says Gordon McKernan, a lawyer in Hollins’s native town of Baton Rouge. “Mike is a fighter.”

Hollins is one of two survivors of a mass shooting Sunday that left three football players dead. Wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler and defensive end D’Sean Perry were shot and killed in an incident that unfolded on a bus following a class trip to Washington, D.C. Authorities arrested former Virginia walk-on running back Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. in connection with the crimes, charging him with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony. A fifth victim, who is not a football player, is in stable condition, McKernan says.

McKernan, a close friend of the Hollins family, spoke to Mike Hollins’s mother, Brenda, earlier Monday. Brenda has worked for McKernan’s law firm for the past seven years, and his son John played AAU basketball and high school football with Hollins. McKernan agreed to speak on the family’s behalf.

“It’s been hard,” McKernan says. “He is what you want your son to be. He’s that guy. He’s been at our house so much. We’ve gone on trips with them. He is polite, respectful, smart. He’s driven, tenacious and persistent.”

Hollins, a redshirt junior who has rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns this season, was shot in the back and suffered wounds to his abdomen, where the bullet is believed to have exited, McKernan says. He underwent emergency surgery Sunday night and will have another procedure on Tuesday, when doctors will explore his abdominal cavity and kidneys for damage.

Witnesses on the bus told Brenda that the suspect pulled a handgun and began firing, specifically targeting football players, McKernan says.

“Mike was towards the front of the bus. Mike survived because he was farther away from the shooter,” McKernan says. “The other three were seated closer to the shooter.”

A motive for the shooting remains unclear, but the incident has stunned the Virginia community.

“They had been on a field trip to see a play (in Washington D.C.) and when they came home on a bus, they pulled into the parking garage,” McKernan says. “The suspect, who apparently may not have been a part of the class but was on the trip … he was asking one of the football players about a video game. The guy answered, and at that moment, he pulled a gun and started shooting. The belief from those on board was that he was targeting football players.”

Brenda flew from Baton Rouge to Virginia on Monday and visited her son at a Charlottesville hospital, McKernan says. She was able to see and speak to him. Unable to speak, Mike Hollins wrote his mother messages.

“The first thing he asked about was his three teammates,” McKernan says.

It’s unclear if Hollins is aware that the three died. For fear of upsetting the player at an unstable time, doctors sedated him. McKernan says he is expected to have the ventilator removed on Tuesday.

At an on-campus vigil on Monday attended by thousands of students, football players prayed for Hollins’s recovery. One unidentified player spoke to the crowd gathered and offered a prayer for Hollins.

“Be with Mike as he fights. Put your hands of healing over him, Lord,” the player said.

Hollins helped lead Baton Rouge’s University Laboratory High School to consecutive undefeated state championship seasons. With Hollins at running back and John McKernan at quarterback, U-High, which is located on the campus of LSU, won 3A state titles in 2017 and 2018. In the 2018 championship game, Hollins earned MVP honors after rushing 27 times for 237 yards and scoring four touchdowns.

He finished his senior season with 33 touchdowns and 1,645 yards. He signed with Virginia as a three-star rated prospect.

“He is an outstanding player and kid,” says U-High coach Andy Martin. “He began getting into art and pottery. He’s a good, well-rounded kid.”

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