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Suspect caught in fatal shooting of 3 U.Va. football players

by The Associated Press | November 15, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
Police investigators work around a bus which is believed to be the site of an overnight shooting on the grounds of the University of Virginia Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Charlottesville. Va. Authorities say three people have been killed and two others were wounded in a shooting at the University of Virginia and a student suspect is in custody. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By SARAH RANKIN

Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A University of Virginia student shot and killed three members of the school's football team as they returned to campus from a field trip, setting off panic and a 12-hour lockdown at the school until the suspect was captured Monday.

The violence that also wounded two students late Sunday erupted near a parking garage and closed much of the campus while police searched through the night for the gunman.

Officials got word during a midmorning news briefing that the suspect, 22-year-old Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had been arrested.

"Just give me a moment to thank God, breathe a sigh of relief," university Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said after learning Jones was in custody.

The shooting happened just after 10:15 p.m. Sunday as a charter bus full of students returned from seeing a play in Washington. University President Jim Ryan said authorities did not have a "full understanding" of the motive or circumstances surrounding the shooting.

"The entire university community is grieving this morning," a visibly strained Ryan said. "My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all those who knew and loved them."

Ryan identified the three students who were killed as: Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry. He said one of the wounded students was hospitalized in critical condition, and the other was in good condition.

The shooting touched off an intense manhunt, with authorities conducting a building-by-building search of the campus while students sheltered in place. The lockdown order was lifted late Monday morning.

Jones was taken into custody without incident in suburban Richmond, police said.

Authorities obtained arrest warrants for Jones charging him with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, Longo said.

Jones had once been on the football team, but had not been on the team for at least a year, Longo said. The UVA football website listed him as a team member during the 2018 season and said he did not play in any games.

Hours after Jones was arrested, first-year head football coach Tony Elliott sat alone outside the athletic building used by the team, at times with his head in his hands. He said the victims "were all good kids" and that he would talk more about them "when the time is right."

Jones came to the attention of the university's threat-assessment team this fall after a person unaffiliated with the school reported a remark Jones apparently made about possessing a gun, Longo said.

Longo also said Jones had been involved in a "hazing investigation of some sort." He said he did not have all the facts and circumstances of that case, though he said the probe was closed after witnesses failed to cooperate.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were mourning with the university community.

"Too many families across America are bearing the awful burden of gun violence," the statement said.

Elsewhere, police in Moscow, Idaho, were investigating the deaths of four University of Idaho students found Sunday in a home near the campus.

Officers discovered the deaths when they responded to a report of an unconscious person, authorities said.

Print Headline: Suspect caught in fatal shooting of 3 U.Va. football players

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