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Virginia football player Mike Hollins of Baton Rouge hospitalized after shooting

Mike Hollins, a running back for UVA's football team, is from Baton Rouge. He was hospitalized and is in stable condition.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A junior at the University of Virginia, Baton Rouge native Mike Hollins is in a Charlottesville hospital after what police believe was a targeted attack.

"The shootings occurred on a bus full of students returning from a field trip,” University of Virginia President James Ryan said.

The Sunday night shooting on campus left three university football players dead. Two others were injured, including Hollins.

“Someone amongst them chose to do an act of violence,” University Department of Safety and Security Chief Tim Longo said.

Police say that someone is Christopher Jones, Jr., who was a member of the football team in 2018. He was arrested after a 13-hour search.  

“We've charged him with three counts of second-degree murder, and we charged him with three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony,” Longo said.

Family members of Hollins say he is in stable condition after surgery Monday. Another surgery is planned for Tuesday. His mother flew to Charlottesville Monday morning.

“He’s in good spirits. He’s got a lot of people that care about him,” friend and former teammate Michael “Gideon” Cuellar said.

Cuellar played football with Hollins at University High in Baton Rouge. He says they grew up in sports together and still can’t believe what happened.  

“One of my best friends, didn't know if he was going to make it or not. It was heart-wrenching. I woke up at 3:30 to a phone call and I couldn’t go back to sleep,” Cuellar said.

Hollins was a celebrated running back on the high school football field, helping clinch state championships in 2017 and 2018. He was named MVP for the 2018 game.

“He’s a legend,” Cuellar said. “Dude is an animal at football.”

“Had a great personality, always had a big smile on his face and was just a pleasure to have on the team and coach,” University High football coach Andy Martin said. 

Martin says Hollins is a well-rounded kind of guy, on and off the field. After graduating in 2019 Hollins went to UVA to continue his passion for football. Martin also couldn’t believe what happened.

“It comes as a shock, the whole situation and everything that happened,” Martin said. “It’s a lot of disbelief going on right not, but again, just hoping for the best for Mike.”

Police say the gunman, Christopher Jones Jr., came to the attention of the university’s threat assessment team back in September after making comments about having a gun. 

They’re still trying to figure out why he targeted the players. Two of the teams’ players are from New Orleans. It’s unclear if they were on the bus at the time of the shooting.

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