U.Va. football player talked to his mom shortly before he was killed

One of the three University of Virginia football players shot dead as they returned from a field trip last month was on the phone with his mother just before the shooting, she told NBC.

D’Sean Perry had been talking to his mom, Happy Perry, but “his cell phone had gone dead,” his mother told NBC in an interview published online Thursday.

“I had just gotten off the phone with him,” Happy Perry told NBC, before pausing and then repeating as tears fell: “I had just gotten off the phone with him.”

“I’m broken,” she said.

The comments came as D’Sean Perry’s parents, Happy and Sean Perry, are making their first round of interviews since their son and two of his teammates were killed November 13. A fellow student opened fire on the bus as it returned to campus from a class field trip to Washington, DC, killing D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr. and injuring two other students, authorities said.

D’Sean Perry’s parents also are calling on college athletes to be vocal about gun control and mental health issues, and they are vowing to advocate for changes to gun laws, they told The Washington Post.

“I just don’t want any mother, father, family, sister, brother, aunt, uncle to have to go through what we’re going through right now,” Happy Perry told the Post. “If my voice can help — then that’s a start.”

The UVA attack was among more than 620 mass shootings this year in the US — including last month at a Virginia grocery store and an LGBTQ club in Colorado — and one of more than 75 shootings on school campuses in 2022, according to tallies by CNN and the Gun Violence Archive; mass shootings involve at least four wounded, not including the shooter.

The suspect in the University of Virginia shooting, former UVA walk-on football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., faces three charges of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, authorities said. Jones also faces two counts of malicious wounding, each accompanied by a firearm charge.

Jones had his first court appearance on November 16 and a court ordered that he be held without bond. He remains in custody in Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, online records show.

D’Sean Perry, a Miami native and a fourth-year student majoring in studio art African American studies, was a linebacker on the football team. The university posthumously awarded him and the two other slain football players degrees in early December.

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