After an extensive manhunt that stretched overnight, police on Monday announced they had at last apprehended a University of Virginia student suspected of killing three people and wounding two others in a mass shooting on the school’s main campus on Sunday night.
University President Jim Ryan issued a statement early Monday confirming that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., was “one of our students.”
Jones opened fire on a bus full of students returning to UVA from a field trip to see a play in the Washington, D.C. area, school officials said.
Jones is included on the university’s athletics website as a 2018 football player who did not appear in any games, though it is unclear if he remains a student at UVA. All three victims—Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry, and Devin Chandler—were identified by Ryan as members of the school’s football team.
Jones’ mother, Margo Ellis, told The Daily Beast she is “not speaking to reporters right now” when contacted by phone on Monday.
UVA Police Chief Timothy J. Longo was informed mid-way through a press conference Monday morning that Jones had been nabbed. He added that authorities had received information from someone at the university last fall that Jones owned a gun. The Office of Student Affairs followed up with Jones and his roommate, who said he hadn’t ever seen a weapon.
Over the course of the investigation, UVA police learned of a Feb. 2021 concealed weapons violation that “occurred outside the City of Charlottesville,” Longo said, adding that Jones was required by school rules to report the case to the UVA administration but never did. Administrative charges through the university’s judiciary council are still pending, according to Longo.
“He had been called to our attention,” Longo said. “I wanted you to hear it from me, not hear it from someone else.”
Relatives of Jones’ told NBC 12 on Monday that he had been hazed while at UVA. He was known to the school from an alleged hazing incident, school officials said Monday, according to CBS reporter Olivia Rinaldi, who said that witnesses at the time “would not cooperate.” A source who knows Jones but asked not to be named told The Daily Beast that he had “been bullied” at UVA, “and it was bad.”
In a 2018 article on Jones, the Richmond Times-Dispatch painted a picture of a difficult childhood characterized by “a fractured family, school fighting and suspensions.” Jones told the outlet that his father leaving when Jones was just five years old was “one of the most traumatic things that happened to me.” The piece added that Jones attended an alternative school where he was able to avoid bullying, and that he had moved in with his grandmother in Petersburg in 2016 after the relationship with his mother deteriorated. It also said that in the two years before he started at UVA, “mentors helped him let go of his anger.”
Tracie Baines’ daughter attended Petersburg High School with Jones, and both knew him well, she said.
“This is so out of character, so very, very out of character,” Baines told The Daily Beast on Monday. “And when I say that, I’m not saying it to demean or to erase the…
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