Michael Hollins Jr. is still recovering from being shot in the back after returning to the team bus to help his teammates to safety during the University of Virginia (UVA) shooting.
Last month a former UVA student started shooting on a bus as the group returned to campus from a field trip.
The shooter killed three of Micheal’s teammates who played football for UVA and injured another student.
Michael said he knew something was wrong when the bus stopped.
Once I got up and the bus was stopping is when the gunshots, you know, starting ringing out.
In that moment I knew we had to get off that bus because it could get a lot worse.
Me and another teammate were the only two to get off the bus.
And I turned back and I look over my shoulder, and I realized, you know, we’re the only two running.
I didn’t really think much in that moment it was just, literally, an instinct and a reaction to go back.
Michael said he was three or four steps on the bus when he locked eyes with the shooter coming off the bus.
I mean he was just so close and I felt so hopeless and so powerless in that moment…
I mean we locked eyes and that was it. It was just a cold look it was uh…
I don’t know just like a numb look and, you know, in that moment I just dropped everything and took off running.
I felt him hit me in my back, but I just… I knew I wasn’t going down without a fight.
And I found a pre-med student, and that was God again.
She was there to help me. She kept me calm, you know, kept my breathing under control, was checking my pulse until the ambulance came.
Michael said he didn’t know the shooter, Christopher Parnell Jones Jr., at all, but he saw him that morning before they got on the bus, and he looked normal to him.
D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler, and Lavel Davis Jr. were the three UVA football players that were killed on the bus that day, but Michael didn’t find out until two days later because he went straight to surgery after arriving at the hospital.
I found out two days later. I found out because I went straight to surgery because I think I got hit in the small intestines, kidney, and they were trying to see if it damaged my bladder.
By the grace of God it missed my spine by, I think, two centimeters, or something like that…
He said when he found out his three teammates didn’t survive, he cried more than he has ever cried before, and he lost a brother that day.
He said he loved D’Sean and Devin with all his heart, but he had a brotherly bond with Lavel.
Michael said the shooting has made him more in touch with his feelings and taught him to embrace his emotions and vulnerability.
It’s just… I’ve never been as, like I said, vulnerable or emotional, but now it’s just like, I don’t really care, I can’t control it, I’m not afraid to, you know, tell my friends or my teammates ‘I love you!’, you know, ‘Looking forward to seeing you again’, and really meaning it now.
Micheal said he is telling his story for the brothers he lost and the people he loves.
I’m doing it for, you know, my brothers I lost…
I’m still doing it for the people I love, for the people that were on that bus, and everything I do from here on will be, you know, in their name, in their light.
We wish Michael Hollins Jr. well in his recovery, and we send our deepest condolences to the families whose lives will be changed by this shooting forever.