The incident occurred late Sunday evening as students were returning from a field trip to Washington, DC.
Three members of the University of Virginia (UVA) football team were killed and two others were injured late Sunday night when a shooting took place near a charter bus parked near the Culbreth Garage on Grounds as students were returning from a field trip to Washington, DC.
*Editor’s Note: Grounds refers to the UVA campus.
The incident spurred a shelter in place order for students on Grounds overnight that lasted for twelve hours, as law enforcement officials held an “exhaustive” building-by-building search for the suspect, according to UVA President Jim Ryan.
According to UVA Police Chief Tim Longo, there were roughly 500 students who were sheltering in place in various buildings on Grounds, and that there was a ballpark estimate of about 25 people on the charter bus returning from the field trip.
University officials lifted the shelter in place order because they were “confident” that the suspect was no longer in the area.
The suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr. was apprehended shortly before 11 a.m. in Henrico County, and is currently in custody. News of his arrest came through as a press conference was taking place about the incident, where Ryan and Longo, who is also the UVA Associate Vice President for Safety and Security, spoke.
Officials with UVA police, various local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Virginia State Police (VSP) were on the search for the suspect.
Jones has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder, as well as three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony.
“[If] there comes a point in time that those charges need to be amended when certain facts and circumstances arise that would cause us to do that, we’ll do that,” Longo said.
During a press conference, Pres. Ryan named the three victims of the shooting: Devin Chandler, a second-year transfer student from Virginia Beach, Lavel Davis, a third-year student from South Carolina, and D’Sean Perry, a fourth-year student from Miami. The bodies of Chandler and Perry were found on the bus, while Davis was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center for treatment, where he later died.
Jones was once listed on the UVA Football roster. He had caught the attention of UVA Police’s Threat Assessment Team in September 2022, after the Office of Student Affairs reported to the multidisciplinary threat assessment team that Jones had made a comment about possessing a gun to a third party, who reported that they had never seen the gun.
“The comment about Mr. Jones owning a gun was not made in conjunction with any threats,” Chief Longo said.
UVA’s Office of Student Affairs followed up with the person who had reported the comments, making efforts to contact Jones. They followed up with Jones’ roommate, who, per Longo, “did not report seeing the presence of a weapon.”
Jones had also come to the Threat Assessment Team’s attention because he had been involved in a hazing investigation. Longo did not have the details of the investigation, but noted that it was closed due to uncooperative witnesses.
Through an investigation by the Threat Assessment Team, UVA officials learned Jones had a prior criminal incident involving a concealed weapon that had occurred outside the city of Charlottesville in February 2021.
UVA students are required to report any incidents like that, but he did not report that to University officials. Because of that, the university has issued administrative charges through the university’s Judiciary Council. The matter is still pending adjudication, according to Longo.
Two other students were injured in the shooting, and are currently hospitalized. One of the students is in good condition, while another is in critical condition. The injured victims were not named out of respect for their privacy.
The relationship between Jones and the victims has not been reported and is unclear.
Pres. Ryan has spoken with four of the families, as well as the student who was listed in good condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
“This is an unimaginably sad day for our community. The entire university community is grieving this morning. My heart is broken for the victims and their families, and all of those who knew and loved them. They are all in my prayers. As I said before, when I see our students, I see my own kids. I cannot imagine anything worse for a parent than to lose a child,” Ryan said.
“There will be questions that we’ll have no answers to. It’s not because I don’t want to tell you, but because we just don’t know,” Chief Longo said. “Trust that when we do know, you’ll know.”
All University-related classes and activities including a men’s basketball game, were canceled for Monday, Nov. 14. Resources have also been provided to the UVA community.