State Watch — Verizon
3 UVa football players killed in shooting, suspect in custody
Authorities have taken a suspect into custody after he allegedly shot and killed three members of the University of Virginia football team and injured two others on Sunday night.
Timothy Longo, the school’s chief of police, made the announcement during a Monday morning press conference, indicating the tragedy occurred when the victims returned to the university on a charter bus.
Officials began the press conference by identifying the suspect as Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., a 22-year-old student at the university, but said they had not located him, only to provide the update minutes later.
Longo said Jones was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in commission of a felony.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult day for our community, and we need to comfort and support each other and those closest to the victims of this horrendous shooting,” university President Jim Ryan said at the press conference.
Ryan indicated that university police responded to a report of shots fired at roughly 10:30 p.m. on Sunday evening in the area of a parking garage on Culbreth Road.
Upon arriving, Longo said police found two students on a charter bus who were pronounced dead, while another was transported to a local hospital and later died there.
Ryan identified the three slain football players as second-year Devin Chandler, who was from Virginia Beach, Va.; third-year Lavel Davis, who was from Ridgeville, S.C.; and fourth-year D’Sean Perry, who was from Miami.
Ryan added that two others remain in the hospital, with one in good condition and the other in critical condition. He declined to identify them or provide further details.
During the search, the school’s police department released a photo of Jones that matched a biography page for him on the University of Virginia’s website indicating he also was a previous member of the team.
Police searched for Jones overnight as officials issued a shelter in place order that lasted for 12 hours on the campus, which students refer to as the “Grounds.”
Officials lifted the order Monday morning following a thorough search, only to report minutes later that the suspect was in custody.
“It’s been an incredibly long evening, very tragic circumstances for our university community, for the city of Charlottesville, the county of Albemarle, the Commonwealth,” Longo said. “It’s especially tragic for a small number of families who we had to break some really bad news to.”
Longo indicated the school’s threat assessment team had been alerted to Jones in September after an individual unaffiliated with the university reported that Jones made a comment about possessing a gun.
Longo said Jones had not issued any threats, and his roommate told officials he had not seen a gun. Jones had also been involved in a past hazing investigation that was closed, the police chief added.
In the process of those investigations, Longo said school officials learned that Jones had received a concealed weapons violation in February 2021 outside of Charlottesville, Va., where the school is located.
Under the university’s rules, he was required to report that violation but did not, Longo said.
“He had been called to our attention,” Longo said at the press conference.
Updated at 12:32 p.m.