UVA Shooting Suspect Was Reported to the School in September for Having a Gun

Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., a former University of Virginia football player, murdered three current players and injured two other people Monday morning.

UVA Shooting Suspect Was Reported to the School in September for Having a Gun
Photo:Virginia Sports.com, Steve Helber (AP)

During a Monday news conference at the University of Virginia, just over 12 hours after a shooting was reported on campus, the suspect, a student identified as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was apprehended by law enforcement and taken into custody.

“We’ve just received information the suspect is in custody,” UVA Police Chief Tim Longo said, addressing reporters. “I just need a moment to thank god and breathe a sigh of relief,” he said after a brief pause. It’s since been reported that Jones was arrested “without incident” in his car, one hour outside of Charlottesville.

The announcement came during a conference that began with the university’s president, Jim Ryan, telling the public that Jones was still at large following an “exhaustive” police sweep of the campus. According to Ryan and a separate school administrator, the shooting occurred on a bus of students who were returning to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C.

Three students were killed and two were injured. All three of the fatalities were football players: Devin Chandler, a third-year student from Virginia Beach; Lavel Davis Jr., a third-year student from Dorchester, South Carolina; and D’Sean Perry, a fourth-year student from Miami.

Photo:Steve Helber (AP)

“This is a sad, shocking and tragic day for our UVA community,” Ryan said. Currently, a motive is not known, but in 2018, Jones was a running back for the university’s football team. Ryan told reporters he had not been a member of the team for “over a year.”

A person unaffiliated with UVA had reported him to the Office of Student Affairs in early fall of this year, according to Longo. “In September of 2022, our Office of Student Affairs reported to the multidisciplinary threat assessment team that they received information that Mr. Jones had made a comment about possessing a gun to a person that was unaffiliated with the university,” Longo said.

“That reporting person—again, unaffiliated with the university—to the best of our knowledge, never saw the gun. The comment about Mr. Jones owning a gun was not made in conjunction with any threats,” Longo told reporters. “The Office of Student Affairs followed up with the reporting person and…followed up with Mr. Jones’ roommate, who did not report seeing the presence of a weapon.”

According to Longo, Jones was also involved in a previous “hazing investigation” that was eventually closed after witnesses failed to cooperate. “Through the course of the threat assessment team’s investigation, we learned of a prior criminal incident involving a concealed weapon violation that occurred outside the city of Charlottesvilles in February 2021.”

Longo said that Jones was “required, as a student of the University of Virginia” to report such a violation but never did.

“That matter is still pending adjudication,” Longo said. “I thought it important to share that information with you; to let you know that he’d been called to our attention. I wanted you to hear that from me, and not hear it from someone else.”

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