3 UVA football players killed in campus shooting

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Three members of the University of Virginia football team were shot and killed in a campus shooting Sunday evening, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan said at a news conference Monday morning. Ryan identified the shooting victims as D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler.

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University of Virginia

D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis and Devin Chandler

Police on Monday arrested a University of Virginia student suspected of the fatal shooting. The violence that also injured two students erupted near a parking garage and caused the campus to be closed off for an entire night as police searched for the shooter.

Officials received word mid-morning that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, had been arrested.

“Give me a minute to thank God, breathe a sigh of relief,” said university police chief Timothy Longo Sr. after learning that Jones was in custody.

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As the press conference began, the university’s police chief, Timothy Longo Sr., said officials were “reasonably confident” the shooter was no longer on school property and urged the public to call 911 immediately if they saw him or saw the black SUV in which he was believed to be driving Longo was then notified that he had been arrested.

The shooting occurred just after 10:15 p.m. Sunday as a charter bus full of students was returning from 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 mourning this morning,” said a visibly tense Ryan. “My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all who knew and loved them.”

Lessons and activities for Tuesday are cancelled, according to Ryan.

Ryan said one of the injured students was hospitalized in critical condition and the other is in good condition.

University of Virginia head football coach Tony Elliott released the following statement:

A GoFundMe has been set up for Lavel Davis Jr.’s family. to help with funeral costs.

The shooting sparked an intense manhunt, with authorities searching the campus building by building as students sheltered in place for more than 12 hours. The lockdown order was lifted late Monday morning.

Police have obtained warrants for Jones who charged him with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a gun in the commission of a felony, Longo said.

Jones had once played on the football team, but he hadn’t been on the team for at least a year, Longo said.

Jones came to the attention of the university’s threat assessment team this fall after a person not affiliated with the school reported a comment Jones apparently made about possessing a gun, Longo said.

No threat was reported in connection with the gun concern, but officials investigated and contacted Jones’ roommate.

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

In addition, officials learned about an earlier incident outside of Charlottesville involving a gun violation, Longo said. That incident is not as it should have been reported to the university, he said.

Eva Surovell, the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper The Cavalier Daily, said after students received an alert late Sunday night about an active shooter, she ran to the parking garage only to find it blocked by police. When she went to a nearby intersection, she was told to shelter in place.

“A police officer told me that the shooter was nearby and that I should get home as soon as possible,” she said.

She waited with other reporters, hoping to get additional details, then returned to her room to work on the story. The seriousness of the situation dawned on me.

“My generation certainly grew up with general gun violence, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it comes to your own community,” she said.

Jones has ties to the Richmond area having attended Varina High School and Petersburg High School. He was arrested in eastern Henrico.

UVA students needing on-campus support can call Counseling and Psychological Services 24 hours a day at (434) 243-5150. Faculty and staff can find a similar resource through the Faculty and Employee Support Program by calling (434) 243-2643 or by emailing the office through the FEAP website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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