Nov 15, 2022 - News

Tragedy at UVA after 3 athletes killed in shooting

Students walk past a fraternity house with a banner memorializing three University of Virginia football players killed. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Image

A former University of Virginia football player accused of fatally shooting three of his former teammates was arrested Monday in Henrico County after a 12-hour campus lockdown.

State of play: The university’s police chief, Timothy Longo, announced the suspect’s capture after getting word midway through a news conference.

  • "I just need a moment to thank God, breathe a sigh of relief,” Longo said after relaying the update.

The alleged gunman is a Richmond native and current UVA student, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22.

  • He played high school football at Varina High and Petersburg High, where he was the team’s MVP, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
  • In a 2018 profile about his graduation, the paper described him as an academically gifted athlete who overcame a difficult childhood.
  • He played football at UVA for one year, per the school’s website.

The big picture: UVA President Jim Ryan said the shooting took place at 10:30pm on a charter bus that had just returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in D.C.

  • Ryan said he didn’t have a “full understanding” of what motivated or led up to the shooting.
  • He identified the three football players killed as Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.
  • Two other people, whom authorities have not identified, were wounded in the shooting. One is in critical condition, and the other in good condition, Ryan said.

Police captured Jones in Henrico after spotting his SUV parked off Darbytown Road.

  • Officials said in a statement they arrested him without incident.

What they’re saying: Student body president Cecilia Cain described the mood on campus as “pretty freaked out,” per the Daily Progress.

  • During the all-night lockdown, the university repeatedly issued alerts warning students to shelter in place because an armed and dangerous suspect remained on the loose.

What we’re watching: Jones was already on university officials’ radar before Sunday night’s shooting.

  • UVA officials were pursuing administrative charges against Jones related to a concealed weapons violation that occurred outside the city of Charlottesville, Longo said.
  • Longo also said the school’s threat assessment team investigated Jones this fall after someone reported a remark he made about possessing a gun.
  • Longo said no threats were associated with the statement and a university investigation, which included interviewing Jones’ roommate, did not corroborate the report.
  • He said Jones had also been investigated as part of a hazing incident that was closed “due to witnesses that would not cooperate.”
Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry. Photo: University of Virginia Athletics via AP

Worth noting: Threat assessment teams were mandated at schools around the state following the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

Here’s what we know about the three UVA football players killed in Sunday’s shooting:

Lavel Davis Jr., from Dorchester County, South Carolina, was a wide receiver with “a flair for breaking open games with acrobatic catches resulting in long gains,” per the Washington Post.

  • He was a member of a campus group pushing for social change, telling ESPN in an interview, “When I leave here, I just want to say I was part of the change and I took a step forward.”

D’Sean Perry, from Miami, was a linebacker studying studio arts.

  • He played his last game Saturday against Pittsburgh, a day before the shooting, per CNN.

Devin Chandler, from Huntersville, North Carolina, was a wide receiver remembered by a former coach as “an all around good guy who had a smile that would light up any room,” per the Post.

What they’re saying: “Rest in peace, young men,” UVA head coach Tony Elliott said in a statement.

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