A student suspected in a shooting at the University of Virginia that killed three members of the football team and injured two others is in custody, officials said Monday.
University Police Chief Timothy Longo said authorities had obtained an arrest warrant for Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. on three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of use of a handgun in the alleged commission of a felony in the deaths of D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr.
Authorities, speaking at a news conference, declined to name the two wounded victims. University President Jim Ryan announced that one was in good condition and the other in critical condition.
A high school football coach said one of the injured was Cavaliers running back Michael Hollins, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Jones, 22, was taken into custody by Henrico County police in Richmond “without incident” just before 11 a.m. about 75 miles southeast of the university’s campus. the Police station said.
He is a former member of the soccer team. He was listed on the 2018 roster published on the Virginia Cavaliers official website, but did not appear on the roster in any subsequent seasons.
The shooting took place on the school bus returning from a play
Gunshots were reported in a car park on Culbreth Road near the school’s theater building around 10:30pm on Sunday, the university’s Office of Emergency Management said in a tweet.
Ryan said at a news conference Monday morning that the shooting took place on a school bus full of students returning from a field trip. The trip to see a play in Washington, DC was linked to a class, officials said.
Ryan identified the victims as Perry, a Fourth-year student from Miami; Chandler, a sophomore from Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Davis, a third-year student from South Carolina.
A manhunt has been launched for the suspect and students have previously been warned to “RUN HIDE FIGHT” and take shelter on the spot. A search was conducted on and around the campus grounds early Monday, the Emergency Management Office said, involving multiple agencies including a Virginia State Police helicopter.
The Shelter-in-Place Order was rescinded around 10:30 a.m. after a “thorough search on and around” the site.
That Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said early Monday that it was helping with the investigation.
A bus idles behind police cordon tape Monday during an active gunnery situation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Mike Kropf / The Daily Progress via AP
“This is a message that every leader hopes never to send, and I am devastated that this violence has ravaged the University of Virginia,” Ryan said in an email to students.
The suspect was once on the football team, the school was told he had a gun
During the search, the university police informed one Photo by Jones and warned people not to approach him, saying he was “armed and dangerous”.
The same photo appears on a profile for Jones in the 2018 Virginia Cavaliers football roster. The profile says he hasn’t appeared in any games that year.
His mother, identified as Margo Ellis in public records, said in a phone conversation Monday that her son has lived with his grandmother since he was 16 and that she does not know his whereabouts or possible cause of the shooting.
Officials said Monday that Jones has landed on the radar of school boards for the past several years.
Longo said Monday that the Office of Student Affairs received information in September that Jones had made a remark about possession of a gun to an individual unaffiliated with the university. The bureau reported this to a multidisciplinary threat assessment team affiliated with the university.
Longo said the comment about Jones’ gun possession “was not made in connection with any threats.”
The office contacted the person who reported the concern and Jones’ roommate, who did not report seeing the gun. It is not clear how the matter was resolved.
The threat assessment team was also investigating Jones in connection with a victimization investigation, a case that was eventually dropped because witnesses refused to cooperate with the trial, Longo said. It is unclear when the incident is said to have occurred.
Longo said the team’s investigation also led it to learn of a Jones-related criminal incident in February 2021, which involved a concealed weapons violation outside of Charlottesville. Jones failed to report the incident to the school as per protocol.
“The university has collected reasonable administrative fees through the university Judicial Council and this matter is pending,” Longo said.
lessons canceled; consultant available
Classes were canceled Tuesday “to allow our students an opportunity to reflect, mourn and gather,” Ryan said in a joint statement with Provost Ian Baucom.
They asked the professors to be flexible with assignments and attendance. Bereavement counselors were available to students and staff traumatized by the events, they said.
“This has been an incredibly challenging day for our entire community,” the statement said.
Sporting director Carla Williams described the victims as “three talented and bright young men” and said they had bright futures on Sunday night.
“We will never see the impact they would have had on the world, but we will never forget their impact on us,” she said in a statement Monday. “I miss Lavel, D’Sean and Devin. I pray for peace, comfort and hope for their parents and loved ones.”
Head football coach Tony Elliott said in a statement sent by the university along with Williams’ reaction, “I cannot find the words to express the devastation and heartache our team feels today following the tragic events last night that led to… Death of Lavel, D »Sean and Devin and the other injured.
“These were incredible young men with big ambitions and an extremely bright future. Our hearts ache for their families, their classmates and their friends.”
Early Monday evening, St. Paul’s Memorial Church, an episcopal institution on campus, held a vigil and prayer service to commemorate the victims.
The school said it plans to hold a university-wide vigil for students, faculty and staff.
Governor prays for victims; Senators denounce gun violence
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement Monday that he and his wife “are praying for the UVA community.”
“While there are still many details to be discovered, let us uplift the entire congregation in prayer,” added Youngkin.
Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner thanked law enforcement for quickly apprehending the suspect.
“Heartbroken to hear of another Virginia community destroyed by gun violence,” Kaine said in a statement.
Warner said, “We must continue to work to combat the gun violence epidemic.”
The White House said in a statement Monday: “The President and First Lady join the University of Virginia community in mourning after another fatal shooting in America that claimed the lives of three young people. Our deepest condolences go out to the countless families, friends and neighbors who are mourning the dead and injured in this senseless shooting.”