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UVA shootings: Christopher Jones ‘targeted’ football players but motive still unknown, court hears

What happened in University of Virginia shooting

Johanna Chisholm
Thursday 17 November 2022 03:30 GMT
University of Virginia Shooting: 3 killed, 2 injured; former football player named as suspect

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student accused of shooting dead three fellow students and wounding two others was denied bond on Wednesday as the court heard how he allegedly “targeted” specific victims in the deadly massacre.

Christopher Darnell Jones appeared via video conference at the Albemarle General District Court at 9am local time, as he was arraigned for three counts of second-degree murder and five counts of firearm use in commission of felony.

Prosecutor Jim Hingeley cited a witness statement during Wednesday’s hearing, where he described how the individual had seen Jones shoot Devin Chandler while he was asleep in what appeared to be a targeted act before his body slumped to the floor.

Football stars D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr were identified earlier this week as the other two victims killed in the attack.

Officials have confirmed that Mr Jones was on the field trip with the victims and was on the bus when he opened fire.

A witness also revealed the “bizarre” words the suspect said moments before opening fire.

“Chris got up and pushed and pushed Lavel,” Ryan Lynch told KYW. “After he pushed him, he was like ‘You guys are always messing with me.’”


Who is the suspected gunman Christopher Darnell Jones?

Officers first identified the suspected shooter in the massacre just after midnight on Monday, while sharing a headshot of the 22-year-old that appeared to be lifted from UVA’s athletics website, as he was a former football player for the school.

Mr Jones, who is suspected of killing three students, including fellow UVA football players D’Sean Perry, 22, and wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr and Devin Chandler, reportedly grew up in Richmond and played football at two area high schools.

He was a former football player for the UVA and is included on the university’s athletics website on the 2018 roster, though he didn’t appear in any games.

The website lists Mr Jones’ hometown as Petersburg, Virginia, where he played line-backer and running back at Petersburg High School.

The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm has the story:

Christopher Darnell Jones: Everything we know about UVA mass shooting suspect

Jones, 22, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder

Andrea Blanco15 November 2022 07:00

Three students and football teammates killed at UVA shooting

Late night on Sunday evening, students wrapping up an otherwise quiet weekend at the University of Virginia were disturbed by terror-inducing text messages and emails from the school’s dean and Office of Emergency Management, warning that an active shooter had touched the main campus and had evaded arrest by authorities.

“UVA Alert: ACTIVE ATTACKER firearm reported in area of Culbreth Road. RUN HIDE FIGHT,” tweeted the university’s police force in a late-night message that sent panic throughout the campus.

It was later confirmed by the University of Virginia Office of Emergency Management that a mass shooting had unfolded at a parking garage on the university’s main campus along Culbreth Road in Charlottesville.

At least three people were killed and two were injured, the school’s president, Jim Ryan, confirmed in a statement early in the morning on Monday. The alleged gunman has been identified as Christopher Darnell Jones.

Andrea Blanco15 November 2022 08:00

UVA President issues statement after three students are shot dead

At least three people were killed and two were injured during the shooting at UVA on Sunday night.

“I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia. This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community and we have cancelled classes for today,” the school’s president, Jim Ryan said on Monday. “We will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. Please know we have support available if you need it.”

About 12 hours after the mass shooting had plunged an entire campus into lockdown, authorities confirmed that the suspect in the massacre had been taken into custody.

Andrea Blanco15 November 2022 09:00

Alleged gunman described difficult shool life in 2018 article

In a 2018 profile from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia newspaper described how Christopher Darnell Jones grew up in Essex Village and Mosby Court housing complexes in Richmond.

When he was in the classroom, where he would easily be getting As in the courses he excelled in, he felt at home.

“When I come into the classrooms, everything flowed,” Mr Jones said at the time.

The then-18-year-old described brushes of fights he’d get into with his peers that would sometimes lead to suspensions but admitted that most of those altercations stemmed from kids seeming surprised that a “kid from the projects” was constantly raising his hand to answer questions.

“I would get upset because my intelligence was being insulted. Kids would pick on me — ‘Why did you do that? Why did you answer that question?’” Mr Jones told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “And in that world, disrespect means you should fight.”

The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm has the story:

Christopher Darnell Jones: Everything we know about UVA mass shooting suspect

Jones, 22, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder

Andrea Blanco15 November 2022 10:00

Father of UVA shooting suspect speaks out

A winning smile and a person that almost everyone in high school would’ve counted as their friend. That’s how the father of Christopher Darnell Jones Jr, the suspect in the UVA shooting that left three dead and two injured, described his son’s social life throughout high school.

“He got on the football team at Petersburg High School he excelled at that,” said Christopher Jones Sr in an interview with NBC 12. “He excelled at everything. He was everyone’s friend, everybody loved Chris, and he had a movie star smile he would flash.”

Jones Sr, who divorced from his son’s mother when Jones Jr was just 5, explained that for the most part, his son had seemed to readjust to his fractured upbringing and even thrive, getting all As in the subjects he excelled in.

But he noted that something seemed to have shifted recently, admitting that during a recent call, his son seemed to not be doing as well as previously.

“He had some problems the last time I talked to him. He said some people were picking on him or whatever, he didn’t know how to handle it and I told him just go to school, don’t pay it any mind” he said. “He was really paranoid when I talked to him about something, but he wouldn’t tell me everything. He was a very sensitive young man.”

The father acknowledges that he never expected anything like what unfolded late Sunday night to occur, and it will take some time to process what his son has been accused of carrying out. But he still wants to see his son, in an effort to support him and better understand what was going through his mind.

“What happened? Why did it have to get this far? He could’ve called me,” he said. “I don’t know why he didn’t call me Saturday. If he had called me Saturday, I think maybe I could have talked him out of some things, maybe, hopefully.”

Johanna Chisholm15 November 2022 11:00

White House decries gun violence after UVA shooting

After the shooting at UVA on Sunday night, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement on Monday.

“Too many families across America are bearing the awful burden of gun violence. Earlier this year, President Biden signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, in addition to taking other historic actions,” Ms Jean-Pierre said.

“But we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets. House Democrats acted, and the Senate should follow.

Ms Jean-Pierre said that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris sent their condolences to the families of those killed in the shooting.

Johanna Chisholm15 November 2022 11:20

UVA professor opens up about killed students

Linebacker D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr, and Devin Chandler died on Sunday night during the violence at UVA.

Jack Hamilton, a professor at UVA, said on Twitter that both Chandler and Davis were in his class and remembered the students as “wonderful people.”

“[D]evin was new to UVA last spring (he was a transfer student) and I had him in a large lecture class. he nevertheless made a point to come to my office hours repeatedly, often just to ask questions about how things worked around uva,” Mr Hamilton tweeted about Chandler.

“Later I helped him declare his American studies major, which he was really excited about. he was an unbelievably nice person, always a huge smile, really gregarious and funny. one of those people who’s just impossible not to like. It is so sad and enraging that he is gone.”

Mr Hamilton also said about Davis: “One thing that struck me about vel was how much his classmates liked him and vice versa. in my experience star athletes often tend to hang out with other athletes (understandable, given the time commitment) but vel seemed to go out of his way to make friends with non-athletes

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the story:

Three UVA football stars killed in mass shooting as suspect arrested

D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr played on the University of Virginia football team – the same team that suspect Christopher Darnell Jones made the roster for back in 2018

Andrea Blanco15 November 2022 12:00

Candlelit vigils held at UVA to mourn three football stars killed during mass shooting

Candlelit vigils were held Monday night at the Charlottesville campus of the University of Virginia, where only one day earler the entire student body was put on lockdown after a student had opened fire on a bus arriving back from a field trip and claimed the lives of three students and injured at least two more.

Hundreds of students and university commuity members, including athletes mourning their fellow football teammates, gathered at the campus’s south lawn carrying candles. Many exchanged hugs while some could be seen crying, still visibly shaken from the event that had sent their campus into lockdown for nearly 12 hours.

Nick Kalinowski, 23, a graduate student studying data science, told NBC News his emotions had swung all over the place over the course of the stressful 24 hours.

“First, it was pure shock and horror,” he said. “Then, it was fear because they hadn’t found the shooter yet. Now, it’s sadness and pain.”

Johanna Chisholm15 November 2022 12:36

University of Virginia police chief was informed of gunman’s capture mid-presser

UVA Police Chief Tim Longo was holding a live-streamed news briefing on Monday when he was informed by a captain that Christopher Darnell Jones, 22, had been taken into custody in connection to the shooting at the university’s main campus in Charlottesville on Sunday night.

“We just received information the suspect is in custody,” Mr Longo said at the presser. “Just giving a moment to thank God and breathe a sigh of relief.”

The manhunt plunged the university’s residences into lockdown as students and staff were commanded by UVA Police and the school administration to shelter in place and seek safety if they weren’t inside already.

The suspect was found about 75 miles from the UVA campus around 11am on Monday. He was taken into custody by Henrico County Police in Richmond.

University of Virginia police chief learned about gunman’s capture mid-presser

UVA Police Chief Tim Longo was holding a live-streamed press conference on Monday when he was informed of the arrest

Andrea Blanco15 November 2022 13:00

Classes remain cancelled at UVA for second day in a row

The University of Virginina announced that classes at the school would be cancelled for the second day in a row, citing that it “continues to work through the emotional toll” of Sunday’s mass shooting that left three of the school’s football players dead and two other people injured.

Johanna Chisholm15 November 2022 14:00

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