Law enforcement has arrested the 22-year-old suspect who is believed to have shot three University of Virginia students around 10:15 PM on Nov. 13.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony.
Jones is a student at UVA and a former walk-on member of the football team. He has been accused of opening fire on a bus in the Culthbreth Garage on the university’s campus and hitting five people. The bus was taking students on a class trip to Washington DC to see a play, according to reports.
University of Virginia president Jim Ryan confirmed to the media that three football players – Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry – all died as a result of the shooting. The other two victims, who have not been identified, were hospitalized. One is in critical condition and the other is in good condition.
“This is an unimaginably sad day for our community,” Ryan said, per CBS Sports. “The entire university community is grieving this morning. My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all of those who knew and loved them. They are all in my prayers.”
“When I see our students, I see my own kids. I cannot imagine anything worse for a parent than to lose a child,” he added in a statement. “Please know that we will do everything we can to honor their lives and will come together soon as a community to mourn these losses.”
UVA canceled classes on Nov. 14 and asked students to shelter in place while a manhunt for the gunman ensued. Only designated essential workers were asked to come to work. UVA also canceled all of its transit service’s academic routes.
The order was lifted shortly before Jones was arrested after university police completed a search of the campus.
“I just need a moment to thank God,” UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo said at a press conference after announcing Jones had been taken into custody. Longo said Jones had made a comment to a third party about posing with a gun in September and was flagged by the UVA threat assessment team. An investigation, during which authorities interviewed Jones’s roommate, found no evidence that Jones had a gun on campus.
Jones had been given a concealed weapons violation in Charlottesville, where the UVA campus is located, in February of 2021. He did not report the violation to UVA as required by school rules.
“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, per The Hill. “It’s especially tragic for a small number of families who we had to break some really bad news to.”
A motive for the shooting has not been determined.
“We had a horrific tragedy overnight at UVA, lives were lost and families changed forever. Due to the diligence and commitment of our law enforcement, the suspect is in custody,” tweeted Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. “While there are still many details to uncover, let us lift up the entire community in prayer.”