UVA shooting: Suspect accused of killing 3 University of Virginia football players denied link as new revelations emerge



Cnn

The student accused of killing three University of Virginia football players after a field trip was denied the bond Wednesday during a court hearing in Charlottesville.

According to a witness, suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. shot one of the players, Devin Chandler, while he was sleeping, the Albemarle County prosecutor said. Fellow UVA Cavaliers Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were also killed.

Wednesday’s hearing also revealed that Jones was charged and convicted of reckless driving and hit-and-run in 2021 and had a concealed weapons charge the same year. He received suspended sentences for all crimes.

Jones remains in custody at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, according to online records. He has been assigned public defender until his next hearing in December — a state hearing that will discuss whether Jones has retained a private attorney, said Albemarle County attorney James Hingeley.

Jones was on a Sunday field trip with other UVA students to see a show in Washington, DC, a university spokesman said.

When the bus returned to the Charlottesville campus, authorities said, the 22-year-old opened fire on the bus, killing Chandler, Davis and Perry.

Jones faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a gun in the commission of a felony, UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr.

He also faces two counts of malicious wounding, each accompanied by a gun charge. Two others were injured in the shooting, Hingeley said.

The prosecutor identified the injured as Marlee Morgan and Michael Hollins.

One was in serious condition and the other was released from hospital, UVA Health spokesman Eric Swensen said Tuesday. Swensen did not identify either person.

Hollins, a young running back on the varsity football team, was intubated but stable Tuesday morning, his family said. CNN has reached out to Marlee Morgan’s family.

UVA student Ryan Lynch told CNN affiliate KYW-TV she was on the bus where the shooting occurred and saw Jones push one of the victims.

“Chris got up and pushed Lavel,” Lynch said. “After pushing him, he said ‘You’re always making fun of me.’ He said something weird like that, but he was very weird because they didn’t talk to him the whole trip.

Then the gunfire erupted.

“They kept coming, more and more gunfire,” Lynch told KYW. “We thought she was going to shoot everyone on the bus.”

But “the shooter just walked or, like, jumped off the bus,” Lynch said.

UVA’s scheduled game against Coastal Carolina on Saturday has been canceled, the university’s athletic department announced Wednesday.

“The game would be Virginia’s last home game of the 2022 season,” said a statement from the athletic department.

“A decision has not been made at this time as to whether Virginia will play its last game of the season, a Nov. 26 (Saturday) date against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.”

Meanwhile, the Atlantic Coast Conference released guidance on Wednesday outlining how the rest of the conference will support UVA going forward.

“The ACC is a family, and when one member of our family suffers, we all get hurt,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and we will continue to support UVA in any way we can during this difficult time.”

The ACC has produced UVA helmet decals that will be worn by every school in the conference, and a moment of silence will be observed at all ACC home football games this coming weekend, according to a conference statement.

The ACC also produced Strong UVA graphics for lecture schools to use on social and digital media.

Prior to Sunday’s shooting, Jones was the subject of a pending case with the university’s Judiciary Board as Sunday’s shooting took place, officials said.

“On Sept. 15, in the context of reviewing a potential hazing issue, UVA Student Affairs heard from a student that Mr. Jones made a comment to him about owning a gun,” said Brian Coy, the university spokesman. .

That person “didn’t see Mr. Jones holding a gun” and the “comment about owning a gun was not made in conjunction with a threat,” Coy said.

“In the course of their investigation, University officials spoke to Mr. Jones’s roommate, who gave no indication of the presence of any weapons. In the course of their investigation, University officials discovered that Mr. Jones had previously been tried and convicted of a concealed weapons violation in 2021, for which he received a 12-month suspended sentence and a small fine.

Coy said during the investigation “Mr. Jones has repeatedly refused to cooperate with university officials seeking more information about claims that he had a firearm and his failure to disclose a previous misdemeanor conviction.

“The Threat Assessment Team escalated its case for disciplinary action” on Oct. 27, Coy said.

The school’s judiciary board has dealt with the case, and the results are pending, said Longo, the school’s police chief.

Jones was also involved in a campus hazing investigation that was closed because witnesses would not cooperate, Longo said.

Jones is listed on the UVA Track and Field website as a football player in 2018 who, as a freshman, did not participate in any games. A UVA spokesperson told CNN that Jones had a pre-existing injury that kept him from playing on the soccer team in 2018.

Jones underwent medical treatment and rehabilitation during his time with the team and was only a member of the team for one season, the spokesperson says.

“What I do know is that the youngster was a student as of 2018 and was a substitute for one semester with our soccer program,” Williams said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, UVA football coach Tony Elliott spoke publicly for the first time since the shooting. He described the days following the attack as a nightmare.

“I’m ready for someone to pinch me and wake me up and say it didn’t happen,” Elliott said, adding that Tuesday “was so much better, we were able to go from pain to finding some joy in celebrating the lives of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin.

The deaths of players Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry left three huge holes in a team that looked more like family than anything else, the coach said. He went on to describe them, calling Chandler “the life of the party,” Davis “the big guy on campus,” and Perry “the quiet kid everyone wanted to know about.”

Left to right: Devin Chandler, D'Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr.

Elliott praised the strength of his team and staff for coming together and being able to process the footage. Elliott said the team inspired him to keep pushing forward. At the same time, he said staff have made a point of making sure the team has all the resources it needs and that no one goes into isolation.

“The message to the team is that we will celebrate their lives moving forward and the impact they have had thus far and the legacy they will be part of helping us establish moving forward,” Elliott said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of UVA Health spokesperson Eric Swensen.

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