After an all-night manhunt, police on Monday announced they had finally arrested a University of Virginia student suspected of killing three people and wounding two others in a mass shooting on the school’s main campus Sunday night.
University President Jim Ryan released a statement early Monday confirming that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., “was one of our students.”
Jones opened fire on a bus full of students returning to UVA from the field to see a game in the Washington, DC area, school officials said.
Jones is listed on the university’s athletics website as a 2018 football player who did not appear in any games, although it is unclear if he remains a student at UVA. All three victims – Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry, and Devin Chandler – were identified by Ryan as members of the school’s football team.
Jones’ mother, Margo Ellis, told The Daily Beast that she is “not talking to reporters right now” when reached by phone Monday.
UVA Police Chief Timothy J. Longo announced in a press conference Monday morning that Jones had been arrested. He added that authorities received information from someone at the university last fall that Jones had a gun. The Office of Student Affairs tracked down Jones and his roommate, who said he never saw the weapon.
During the investigation, UVA police learned in February 2021 of a violation of concealed weapons that “occurred outside of the City of Charlottesville,” said Longo, adding that Jones was required by school rules to report the crime to UVA administration but did not. . Administrative charges through the university’s legal council are still pending, according to Longo.
“He was called to our attention,” Longo said. “I wanted you to hear it from me, you can hear it from someone else.”
Jones’ friends He told NBC 12 on Monday that he had been foggy while at UVA. He is known by the school because of the alleged incident, school administrators said Monday. according to CBS reporter Olivia Rinaldi, who said witnesses at the time “would not cooperate.” A source who knows Jones but asked not to be named told The Daily Beast that he was “harassed” at UVA, “and it was bad.”
In a 2018 article on Jones, i Richmond Times-Dispatch he painted a picture of a difficult childhood marked by “a broken family, fights at school and suspensions.” Jones told the press that his father leaving when Jones was only five years old was “one of the saddest things that ever happened to me.” The piece added that Jones attended another school where he was able to avoid bullying, and moved with his grandmother to Petersburg in 2016 after his relationship with his mother deteriorated. He also said that two years before he started at UVA, “counselors helped him get over his anger.”
Tracie Baines’ daughter went to Petersburg High School in the Richmond area with Jones, and they both knew her well, she said.
“This is out of character, very, very out of character,” Baines told The Daily Beast on Monday. “And when I say that, I don’t mean to demean or erase the tragedy that happened. But I know another Chris.”
A shocked Baines, through tears, said Jones was a conscientious teenager who did well in school and worked to help out at home.
“I know Chris who helped take care of his mother, who helped take care of his family,” Baines continued. I know Chris who got a scholarship from UVA, and it’s just a disaster for everyone involved.
However, he said he has not spoken to Jones since he arrived at UVA in 2018 and “has no idea what happened there.”
“It makes it even more painful for me because my first cousin was killed Thursday in gun violence,” Baines said.
D’Sean Perry’s father first confirmed in Charlottesville’s Daily Progress that his son was one of those killed. Perry, 22, was a linebacker for the Virginia Cavaliers football team.
His father, Sean Perry, said D’Sean was shot in the parking lot of the Culbreth Garage campus. She added that she and Sean’s mother, Happy Perry, were flying to Virginia from their hometown of Miami on Monday.
Lavel Davis Jr., a wide receiver, was identified as another victim by his cousin, Newbury College assistant football coach Sean Lampkin.
“Sad, sad news this morning,” Lampkin wrote in the tweet Monday. “God took one of his most kind, humble, loving soldiers out of battle last night. Please pray for my family as we are deeply saddened by the passing of my cousin Lavel Davis Jr. Love and miss you already, baby.
The reason for the attack is still unclear.
Shelter-in-place orders were sent at 10:40 p.m. Sunday night after the attack, and several agencies were looking for Jones, who police said was armed and dangerous.
UVA canceled classes Monday as the stay-at-home order remained in effect, although the order was lifted at 10:30 a.m. “based on a thorough internal and general search” of college campuses, The UVA Police Department said. Charlottesville City Schools canceled classes for 4,000 students “to give police time to investigate while they search for the suspect in our area.”
On Monday, Virginia Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine shared messages of support for the victims’ families. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific act of violence on the UVA campus,” Warner wrote.
“Heartbreaking to hear of another community in Virginia devastated by gun violence,” Kaine said on Twitter. “Praying for the UVA community and monitoring the situation.” He added: “We need to take another step to make our community safer.”