The alleged killer of three members of the University of Virginia football team was reportedly on the campus police radar prior to the shooting for bragging he had a gun, after a hazing incident, and a 2021 episode involving a concealed weapon.
(Video Credit: WUSA9)
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, is set to appear in court for arraignment on the murders of football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry.
The university student was reportedly known to police since September and was seen as a potential threat. He had previously been involved in a “criminal incident that saw him in possession of a concealed weapon.” Police admitted that Jones had come to their attention beforehand during a press conference on Monday following a 13-hour manhunt for Jones.
“Because I want to be transparent with you, I want you to know that … Mr. Jones came to the attention of the University of Virginia’s threat assessment team in the fall of 2022 because he was involved in a hazing investigation of some sort,” Tim Longo, who is the school’s chief of police, stated.
“I don’t know the facts and circumstances of that investigation. I know it was eventually closed due to witnesses who would not cooperate with the process. But through the course of the threat assessment team’s investigation, they received information that Mr. Jones had made a comment about possessing a gun to a person that was unaffiliated with the university,” he added.
(Video Credit: The Daily Mail)
Jones has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, according to Longo. The motive is still not clear concerning the shooting.
“The incident involved a concealed weapon violation that occurred outside the city of Charlottesville in February 2021. What’s interesting about that case [is] he’s required as a student at the University of Virginia to report that, and he never did, so the university has taken appropriate administrative charges through the university’s judiciary council, and that matter is still pending adjudication,” he continued, addressing a situation many would find far more alarming than merely interesting. “‘I’ll try to do better next time.”
Jones came to the attention of the university’s threat assessment team after a hazing incident occurred and it was discovered that he had a criminal record concerning the concealed weapon altercation, according to the Daily Mail. He was facing a pending disciplinary matter after he failed to tell the university about the incident. The witness involved refused to cooperate and the case was closed.
Chris Jones Sr., who is the father of the alleged shooter, apologized for his son’s actions. He told Richmond TV station WTVR he was in disbelief after getting a call from the police on Monday.
“My heart goes out to their families. I don’t know what to say, except I’m sorry, on his behalf, and I apologize,” he emotionally said during the interview.
(Video Credit: WUSA9)
Jones Sr. also told WWBT, “I can’t believe it was him. I still can’t believe it now.”
“He got on the football team at Petersburg High School he excelled at that,” he quietly commented. “He excelled at everything. He was everyone’s friend, everybody loved Chris, and he had a movie star smile he would flash.”
The father had tried to speak with his son about school but he evidently would not open up.
“Yeah, he was real paranoid, when I talked to him, about some things. He wouldn’t tell me everything,” Jones said, referring to a conversation he had with his son a month prior to the shooting. “He said some people were picking on him or whatever, he didn’t know how to handle it. I just told him to just go to school, don’t pay them no mind, do what you got to do, you only got one more year.”
“Me and his mother separated when he was five,” he told the media outlet. “I was out of his life for 11 years.”
“What happened? Why did it have to get this far? He could have called me,” the distraught father said.
Jones’ mother was seen sobbing in a van with her other children close by after she learned of the shooting. She had just spoken to him on Sunday, claiming he sounded normal and was excited about celebrating his upcoming 23rd birthday on Nov. 17, according to Fox News.
Jones initially was on the football team for a year during the 2018 season, according to Longo. He never played in any games.
Jones reportedly shot into the school bus as it was returning from a field trip in DC at approximately 10:15 pm on Sunday night. The shots killed the three players and injured two others. One of those injured is in critical condition according to CBS News.
“I cannot find the words to express the devastation and heartache that our team is feeling today after the tragic events last night that resulted in the deaths of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin, and the others who were injured,” Coach Tony Elliott said in a statement.
“These were incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures. Our hearts ache for their families, their classmates, and their friends. These precious young men were called away too soon. We are all fortunate to have them be a part of our lives. They touched us, inspired us, and worked incredibly hard as representatives of our program, university, and community. Rest in peace, young men,” he sadly added.
“This is an unimaginably sad day for our community,” University of Virginia President Jim Ryan said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Update: Police have the suspect in custody. I’m grateful to law enforcement for their extraordinary work in this search. Here is a link to today’s press conference: https://t.co/m5gpm4rm3s We will be working with student leaders today to plan for a community vigil. pic.twitter.com/iwwUHGEIl1
— Jim Ryan (@presjimryan) November 14, 2022
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