Three football players were killed and two more people were injured following a shooting at the University of Virginia late Sunday night, campus police and university president Jim Ryan confirmed early Monday.
The suspected shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., is in police custody after a manhunt that lasted more than 12 hours and included a campus-wide lockdown order.
Jones, who was a student at the university as of Monday morning, as well as a former football player, faces three charges of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo told reporters during a press conference.
The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. ET on a charter bus full of students returning from a field trip to see a play, the university president said in a press conference.
Police say the three victims, who are all juniors and members of UVA’s football team, were found dead on the scene: Devin Chandler, a wide receiver from Virginia Beach, Va.; Lavel Davis, a wide receiver from Dorchester, S.C.; and D’Sean Perry, a linebacker from Miami, Fla.
University officials have not yet released the names of two additional victims who are being treated for injuries; one is in critical condition.
Students and staff sheltered in place for roughly 12 hours
“This is an unimaginably sad day for our community,” Ryan said. “The entire university community is grieving this morning. My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all who knew and loved them.”
Classes and extra-curricular activities were cancelled Monday, and public transportation routes to campus were suspended. Public schools in the surrounding Albemarle County were also closed for the day.
A campus-wide shelter-in-place order was lifted just after 10:30 a.m. ET after an extensive search of the grounds.
Jones was apprehended “without incident” in a suburb of Richmond, Va., roughly 76 miles southeast of the university, according to a press release from the local police department.
UVA Police Chief Tim Longo said Jones will be charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun to commit a felony.
Jones, who is a student at the university, was listed on the university’s athletics website as a football player in 2018 but did not appear in any games.
Longo said Jones had previously come to the attention of campus police because he’d been involved in a hazing incident.
Police closed the investigation after witnesses refused to cooperate, Longo said, but discovered Jones had violated a concealed weapons rule while outside the city of Charlottesville in February 2021.
The Biden administration calls for tighter gun control
Tributes to Chandler, Davis and Perry poured in on social media on Monday. UVA football players and coaches described shock, outrage and heartbreak while sharing images and stories of the men.
Jack Hamilton, a UVA professor who said Chandler and Davis were both students of his, described the former as “an unbelievably nice person, always a huge smile, really gregarious and funny. One of those people who’s just impossible not to like.”
Davis went out of his way to make friends with non-athletes and was well-liked by many of his fellow students, Hamilton wrote.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement offering President Biden’s “deepest condolences” to the “countless families, friends and neighbours grieving for those killed as well as those injured in this senseless shooting.”
“We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off of America’s streets,” Pierre wrote about a bill that passed in the House of Representatives this July but doesn’t appear to stand a chance of overcoming a filibuster in the Senate.
UVA officials had not yet released information on the type of weapon used in Sunday’s shooting.
UVA is at least the second university to report student deaths this weekend
On Sunday, police in Moscow, Idaho, said that four University of Idaho students were found dead in a home near the campus. Police investigating the incident have called the deaths suspected homicides.
“The Moscow Police Department gives our heartfelt condolences to family members, friends and the Moscow community,” police said in a Statement.