UVA linebacker D’Sean Perry was on the phone with his mom just moments before tragic shooting

The shooting left three students dead and two injured

D'Sean Perry was one of three UVA football players fatally shot on the Nov. 13 shooting. (WSLS)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After spending the day in Washington, D.C., on a field trip with a group of students, UVA linebacker D’Sean Perry called his mom and let her know that he was headed back to campus and that his phone was almost out of battery, NBC News reports.

His mother, Happy, had no idea that the phone call would be the last time she heard her son’s voice and that just moments later, a gunman would open fire on the charter bus, killing three students, including her beloved son, D’Sean.

[READ MORE: ‘The community is really hurting’: UVA students react to fatal shooting]

Happy says they spoke to him at about 10:06 p.m. Not even an hour later, reports of an active shooter on UVA grounds started to surface.

Anxiety coursed through her when she tried to call D’Sean and didn’t get an answer, but she tried to remain hopeful. His phone just isn’t working, his parents, Sean and Happy, told themselves.

She said the wait was agonizing, and “dreadful, to say the least. I had called my sister and let her know what was going on. I just needed everyone to pray.”

By 2:30 a.m., Perry’s parents got a call that no parent should ever have to receive: their son had been fatally shot.

The news was earth-shattering.

“I heard my wife on the phone. Once she got the call, she just broke down crying,” Perry’s father said. “All I could do is run around the house and say ‘no,’ and we just cried together.”

“We’re lost, but we’re not empty,” Sean Perry said. “I know my son is right here as we speak.”

D’Sean as well as Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr., both wide receivers, were killed a little over 30 hours after Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Panthers. It would be the final game of the season given that UVA would later go on to cancel the last two games in the wake of the tragedy.

In December, all three players were honored with posthumous degrees.

Chris Jones, also a UVA student, has been charged with the following in connection with the shooting:

  • Three counts of second-degree murder
  • Three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony

Perry’s parents said they plan to join the fight for gun safety regulation and mental health awareness.

“If we don’t do something about it, it will continue,” Sean Perry said. “We’re just a voice. We’re just two voices just trying to make people aware of what happened to our son.”

About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.