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U-Va. awards posthumous degrees to three students killed in shooting

University of Virginia student-athletes, from left, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry were killed Nov. 13 in a shooting on the campus while returning from a class trip to see a play. (University of Virginia Athletics/Reuters)

The University of Virginia has awarded posthumous degrees to the three students who were shot and killed last month in Charlottesville as they were returning from a class trip to see a play, officials said Tuesday.

Diplomas were given or sent recently to the families of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, the university said, during a period of mourning as funerals for each of them were held.

Chandler, Davis and Perry, all members of the U-Va. football team, were slain Nov. 13 in a shooting that led to an outpouring of grief at the 26,000-student university and the broader campus community. Two other students were wounded in the attack.

The suspected shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., who was arrested the next day, was also a U-Va. student. Authorities are investigating and have not released a motive.

The university held a memorial at John Paul Jones Arena on Nov. 19 to honor the victims. All three were in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Chandler, 20, a sophomore from Huntersville, N.C., majored in American studies. Davis, 20, a junior from Ridgeville, S.C., majored in African American and African studies. Perry, 22, a senior from Miami, double-majored in studio art and in African American and African studies.

U-Va. tragedy: Remembering the 3 students killed in shooting

Members of the football team, as well as U-Va. President James E. Ryan and Director of Athletics Carla Williams, attended the funerals, officials said.

“It was a great honor to be a part of presenting these diplomas to the families of Devin, Lavel and D’Sean,” Williams said in a statement.

It is not unprecedented for the university to award posthumous degrees, officials said. Those awarded in this case were all Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Officials said a printed diploma was presented to the Davis family in person Nov. 30 at his service in South Carolina. Two other framed diplomas were sent recently, officials said, to the Chandler and Perry families.