Gunman charged with killing three fellow University of Virginia students

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Tori Miller | News Editor

Tragedy struck the University of Virginia on Monday Nov. 14 when five students were shot by a fellow student. Two of the students survived their wounds while the remaining three– all UVA football players– were killed by gunshot. 

The victims had just returned from a school field trip to Washington, DC, late on Sunday when their school bus was gunned down near a university parking garage in Charlottesville. Police responded to a report of shots fired around 10:30 p.m. with two victims killed inside the bus and the third victim taken to a hospital where he later died, according to CNN.

During a news conference Monday, University of Virginia president Jim Ryan said three Cavaliers football players shot and killed were : junior receiver Lavel Davis Jr. of Dorchester, South Carolina; junior receiver Devin Chandler of Huntersville, North Carolina; and junior defensive end/linebacker D’Sean Perry of Miami.

The attacker was identified as 22-year old Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.– a former football player who was on the bus among other students. At Virginia, Jones was listed as a running back in the football team’s 2018 media guide, but he never received playing time.

The shooting incited a university-wide lockdown where authorities searched for the gunman for roughly 12 hours, according to the New York Times. More than 500 people were sheltered throughout campus buildings, including libraries and classrooms, said UVA Police Chief Tim Longo. 

Jones is facing three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, Longo said Monday. 

Prior to this incident, Jones was under scrutinization by UVA’s threat assessment team as part of an investigation into hazing incidents on campus. The investigation escalated on Sept. 15 when UVA spokesman Brian Coy heard from a student that Jones made a comment to him about possessing a gun. No one whom officials spoke with, including Jones’s roommate, said they had seen him with a gun, Coy said.

Throughout the course of the investigation, officials discovered that Jones had been convicted of a misdemeanor concealed weapons violation in 2021, for which he received a 12-month suspended sentence and had to pay a $100 fine. It was one of several misdemeanor charges that Mr. Jones had been charged with over the past few years, according to court records. 

Campus policy requires students to report the concealed weapons conviction to the university– somthing Jones did not do. When university officials tried to question him about it, Jones refused to cooperate, Coy said, and the threat assessment team “escalated his case for disciplinary action” before a student judiciary body on Oct. 27. 

“University officials take the responsibility to evaluate and act upon potential public safety threats seriously,” Coy said.

The shooting in Charlottesville was at least the fifth since February on or near college campuses in Virginia alone, according to the New York Times. Many families, friends, UVA community members and even President Biden have shared condolences and spoken out about the violence. 

Carla Williams, UVA athletics director, said in a statement that as a mother herself, she aches for the parents and family members of the victims.

“We lost three talented and bright young men,” Williams said. “We will never see what their impact on the world would have been, but we will never forget their impact on us. I miss Lavel, D’Sean and Devin. I pray for peace, comfort and hope for their parents and loved ones.”

For more information:

Student suspect in custody after 3 football players shot dead and 2 people wounded at the University of Virginia, police say | CNN

What we know about the suspect in the deadly University of Virginia shooting | CNN

Three Virginia football players killed; ex-player in custody

Gunman Charged With Killing Three Fellow Students at the University of Virginia – The New York Times

U-Va. campus rattled by killing of three students, charges against another – The Washington Post

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