Nov 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

What we know about suspected UVA shooter, ongoing investigation

Chase Coleman #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers wears a warmup shirt in honor of three Virginia football players.

A Virginia Cavaliers player wears a warmup shirt in honor of three Virginia football players. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

More details have emerged about the history of the 22-year-old University of Virginia student suspected of killing three football players and wounding two others.

The big picture: The accused shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., has a history of run-ins with law enforcement officials, police investigations and bullying incidents.

The latest on alleged UVA shooter

Driving the news: Jones, who is accused of firing a gun in an attack targeted at specific students, is currently being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

  • Jones has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder.
  • The 22-year-old joined 25 students on a school trip to Washington where they saw a play and ate food together, per the Washington Post.
  • When they came back to campus, Jones allegedly opened fire on the students. His motive remains unknown.
  • The three victims — who were honored by the UVA basketball team Friday night — were Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry. All three were members of the school's football team, as is one of the injured students.
What UVA knew about alleged shooter

The latest: Attorney General Jason Miyares said Thursday he would hire a special counsel to conduct an independent investigation into UVA's response to the schooling, NBC News reports.

The University of Virginia reportedly knew that Jones, a former football player, had been convicted on a weapons charge before the shooting happened and did not open up a disciplinary process against him, according to NBC.

  • The school was also reviewing a hazing issue after the school’s Office of Student Affairs "heard from a student that Mr. Jones made a comment to him about possessing a gun,” the school said in a statement.
  • Brian Coy, the university spokesperson, told CNN that Jones "repeatedly refused to cooperate with University officials" throughout the investigation.
  • The University of Virginia police department did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

Of note: Jones's father, Chris Jones, told WTVR that Jones visited him in October and suggested people were picking on him and he didn’t know how to handle it.

  • He said his son was “real paranoid … about something. He wouldn’t tell me everything.”
What we know about the suspected UVA shooter

The Richmond-Times Dispatch wrote a profile of Jones back in 2018, which gave insight into his life before college.

  • Jones reportedly spent many years living in public housing while his mother worked at night. He watched over his three siblings and would have to do grocery shopping to feed them, per the Dispatch.
  • But Jones told the Dispatch that he attacked other children who bullied him when he was young, which led to suspensions and time spent in alternative schools.
  • He was bullied, he said, because others insulted his intelligence.
What we know about the alleged UVA shooter’s history

Recently, Jones was under watch by Virginia State Police for attempts to buy a rifle and a pistol, according to NBC News.

  • A gun shop owner said last week that Jones tried to buy a gun twice, but he failed a background check on one occasion.
  • He later purchased a handgun and a rifle in separate purchases, according to CNN

In 2021, Jones was pulled over for driving an unregistered vehicle, according to local Virginia news station WRIC.

  • Police found he possessed a concealed weapon without a permit. Law enforcement arrested him and charged him with a misdemeanor.
  • At the same stop, police discovered Jones was allegedly wanted for separate charges in Petersburg, Virginia, for a misdemeanor hit-and-run with property damage incident, per WRIC. He was convicted in 2021 but received a suspended sentence.

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