UVA shooting suspect in custody; the 3 students killed were part of the football team, officials say

A student suspected of a shooting at the University of Virginia that left three dead and two injured on the football team is in custody, officials said Monday.

UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo said authorities have obtained an arrest warrant charging Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a weapon punched in the alleged commission of a crime following the death of D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler. and Lavel Davis Jr.

While authorities speaking at a press conference declined to name the two injured victims, UVA President Jim Ryan revealed that one was in good condition and the other in critical condition. critical.

A high school football coach tells NBC News that one of the injured was Cavaliers running back Michael Hollinsa from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Jones, 22, was arrested by Henrico County police in Richmond, Va., “without incident” just before 11 a.m., about 75 miles southeast of the UVA campus, the department said.

He was a former member of the school football team. He was entered in the 2018 roster shared on official Virginia Cavaliers websitebut does not appear on the roster in any of the following seasons.

The shooting took place on a school bus returning from a play

Gunshots were initially reported in a parking lot on Culbreth Road near the dramatic school building at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, the UVA Office of Emergency Management said in a tweet.

Ryan told a news conference Monday morning that the shooting took place on a school bus full of students returning from a field trip. The trip was to see a play in Washington, DC, and was associated with 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 was launched for the suspect and the students received early warnings to “RUN HIDE FIGHT” and shelter in place. A search was conducted on and around campus early Monday, the university’s emergency management office said, involving multiple agencies, including a Virginia State Police helicopter.

The shelter in place order was lifted around 10:30 a.m. after “a thorough search in and around” the land.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said early Monday that he was participating in the investigation.

Police are looking for a suspect, who remains at large.
A bus idles behind a police tape during an active shooter situation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday.Mike Kropf/The Daily Progress via AP

“It’s a message any leader hopes they never have to send, and I’m devastated that this violence has affected the University of Virginia,” Ryan said in an email to students.

He said classes would be canceled for Monday and Tuesday, only designated essential employees required to report to work.

Suspect was once on the football team, school told he had a gun

During the search, the UVA Police Department warned people not to approach the suspect, who was considered ‘armed and dangerous’, and shared a picture of Jones.

The same photo appears on a profile for Jones on the 2018 Virginia Cavaliers football roster. The profile says he did not appear in any games that year.

His mother, who is identified in public records as Margo Ellis, told NBC News in a phone call Monday that her son had lived with his grandmother since he was 16 and she didn’t know where. he was or what could have contributed to the shooting.

Officials said Monday that Jones had landed on school authorities’ radar for the past few years.

Longo said Monday that in September, the UVA student affairs office received information that Jones made a comment about possessing a firearm to someone unaffiliated with the university. The bureau reported this to a multidisciplinary threat assessment team affiliated with the AVU.

Longo said the comment that Jones owned a gun was “not made in conjunction with any threats.”

The office followed up with the person who reported the problem and with Jones’ roommate who did not report seeing the gun. It is not known how the case was resolved.

The threat assessment team also looked at Jones as part of a hazing investigation, a case that was eventually dropped because witnesses were uncooperative in the process, Longo said. It is unclear when the alleged hazing incident took place.

Longo said the team’s investigation also led them to uncover a criminal incident involving Jones in February 2021 involving a concealed weapon violation outside of Charlottesville. Jones did not report the incident to the school as per protocol.

“The university has taken the appropriate administrative charges through the university’s judicial council, and this case is still pending trial,” Longo said.

The Victims: Virginia Cavaliers Football Players

Davis, 20, was a wide receiver on the current Virginia Cavaliers roster.

He was due to graduate in December and was a beloved first child and a “role model” to his younger brother and sister, his father, Thaddeus Lavel Davis, told NBC News.

The father said he was “heartbroken”.

Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. (1) walks off the field at the end of the college football game September 10, 2022 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.
Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. walks off the field at the end of the college football game Sept. 10 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois.Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“I lost my baby. He’s my firstborn,” he said, adding that his son who could “light up a room just with a smile” was focused on school, football and his life. family.

Their family, from Charleston, South Carolina, was heading to the UVA campus on Monday.

The grieving father said he learned the news of his son’s death on Monday morning after receiving a call from his wife while he was at work, but was unsure what happened in the shooting.

He said he last spoke to his son on Saturday and wished he could say one last time, “I love you, son.”

An attorney for Perry’s parents, Happy and Sean Perry, released a statement thanking the South Florida and Charlottesville communities for the “outpouring of support during this incredibly tragic time.”

“At this time, Happy and Sean will not speak publicly about the incident as their grief has only just begun, and out of respect for the University of Virginia community that has been terrorized by another mass shooting in the United States. “said attorney Michael Haggard.

Chandler, a wide receiver, came in the Virginia program after transfer from the University of Wisconsin.

“He had a lasting impact on his teammates, even after he left UW, which is a testament to the type of person he was,” Badgers interim coach Jim Leonhard said in a statement.

“His personality was contagious and it was a joy to be with him. Our team is hurting for him and his family.”

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a statement Monday that he and his wife are “praying for the UVA community.”

“Although there are still many details to be discovered, let us lift the whole community in prayer”, Youngkin added.

US Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner both thanked law enforcement for quickly arresting the suspect.

“Heartbroken to hear about another community in Virginia devastated by gun violence,” Kaine said in a statement.

Warner added, “We must continue to work to address the epidemic of gun violence.”

The White House also released a statement on the shooting on Monday.

“The President and First Lady mourn with the University of Virginia community after another deadly shooting in America claimed the lives of three young people. Our deepest condolences go out to the countless families, friends and neighbors who mourn those killed as well as those injured in this senseless shooting,” the statement read.

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