Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Police have arrested a former University of Virginia football player suspected of killing three football players and injuring two others, university officials confirmed.

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. he was taken into custody as a suspect in the shooting that happened late Sunday night.

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According to the Associated Press, a busload of students was returning to campus Sunday after a field trip to see a play when gunfire rang out near the parking garage around 10:15 p.m.

University of Virginia (UVA) President Jim Ryan identified the three Cavaliers football players who were shot and killed during a news conference Monday morning: junior wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr. of Dorchester, South Carolina; junior receiver Devin Chandler of Huntersville, North Carolina; and junior defensive end D’Sean Perry of Miami.

Left to right: D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler.

University of Virginia

Jones, who is currently a student at UVA, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, as well as a firearm charge.

Ryan told reporters that the two wounded students were hospitalized; one is in critical condition and the other is in good condition. He did not identify the students.

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He called the incident “a sad, shocking and tragic day for the university community.”

“Let me say how deeply sorry I am for the victims and their families and friends,” Ryan said.

University Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said the suspect once played on the football team, although he had not been a member of the team for at least a year, according to ESPN.

Longo also revealed during the press conference that the university’s threat assessment team was tipped off by someone in September that Jones had made a comment about having a gun on campus. The person, however, was not affiliated with the university and never saw the gun.

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“The comment about Mr. Jones having a gun was unrelated to any threats,” Longo said, adding that officers followed up with Jones’ roommate but found nothing related to the report.

Longo also said Jones was involved in “some type of bullying.” He said he did not have all the facts and circumstances of the case, although he said the investigation was closed after witnesses became uncooperative.

In addition, officials learned of a previous incident outside of Charlottesville that involved a gun violation, Longo said. That incident was not reported to the university as it should have been, he said.

A bus sits behind a police cordon during an active shooting situation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday.

Mike Kropf /Daily Progress via AP

Officials said Monday they did not know a motive or reason for Sunday’s attack.

“While we do not yet have a full understanding of the motive and circumstances of these events, police are investigating as we speak,” Ryan said.

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“This is an unimaginably sad day for our community. The entire university community is mourning this morning. My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all those who knew and loved them and they are all in my prayers. As I said before, when I see our students, I see my children and I can’t imagine anything worse for a parent than to lose a child.”

The shelter-in-place order was lifted for the Charlottesville campus Monday morning, about 12 hours after it was put in place.

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More than 500 students stayed overnight in university libraries and classrooms while the order was in effect, the New York Times reported.

Eva Surovell, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper The Cavalier Daily, told The Associated Press that after students received a report of an active shooter late Sunday night, she ran to the parking garage only to find it blocked by police. When she went to a nearby intersection, she was told to take cover.

“The policeman told me that the attacker was nearby and that I had to return home as soon as possible,” she said.

She waited with the other reporters, hoping to get more details, then went back to her room to start working on the story. The gravity of the situation sank in.

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“My generation certainly grew up with generally accepted armed violence, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it comes to your own community,” she said.

With files from the Associated Press

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