A suspected gunman is in police custody after a shooting at the University of Virginia that left three dead and two injured.
The suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is a current student at the university and a former football player, police say. He was apprehended following an hours-long manhunt that launched immediately after the shooting, which school officials say occurred on a student charter bus that was returning from a field trip.
During a press conference this morning, UVA president Jim Ryan identified the three murder victims as current UVA football players Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry. Of the two shooting survivors, whose identities have not yet been released, one remains in critical condition. There is currently no known motive for the shooting.
Jones has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, University of Virginia Police Chief Tim Longo said.
University police first responded to reports of a shooting at 10:30 p.m. Sunday in the area of the Culbreth parking garage. A campus-wide security alert was issued shortly after, and those on or around campus grounds were ordered to shelter in place. That order was lifted a little after 10:30 this morning “based upon a thorough search on and around Grounds,” UVA police announced, adding that “a large police presence will remain.”
“This is an unimaginably sad day for our community,” Ryan said during a press conference. “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. … Please know we will do everything we can to honor their lives and will come together soon as a community to mourn these losses.”
Longo noted that Jones had previously been on the radar of the university’s threat assessment team after an individual reported that the former UVA football player had made statements about possessing a gun. Nothing came of that particular investigation, however, and Jones’ roommate reported that he had not seen any evidence of a weapon.
Separately, Jones was a known subject in a hazing investigation, Longo said. That probe, however, was closed when witnesses refused to cooperate.
Ryan canceled classes in the aftermath of the shooting, noting that “only designated essential should report to work on Monday.”
“As I’ve said before, when I see our students, I see my own kids,” Ryan said. “I cannot imagine anything worse for a parent than losing a child.”
In the wake of the arrest, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took to social media, saying, “Lives were lost and families changed forever. Due to the diligence and commitment of our law enforcement, the suspect is in custody. While there are still many details to uncover, let us lift up the entire community in prayer.”
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