Court appearance of suspected UVA gunman reveals new details
One witness said in court the suspect targeted the victims
ALBEMARLE, Va. (WWBT) - New information has come to light during a Wednesday court hearing for the former UVA football player accused of killing three-student athletes and injuring two others.
The shooting happened around 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at a parking garage behind UVA’s drama building. Police say the students were returning from a field trip at the time of the shooting.
During the arraignment hearing, prosecutors said that a witness told police that Jones shot Devin Chandler in his sleep. The prosecutor said a witness also told investigators that Jones appeared to be explicitly targeting certain classmates rather than shooting randomly.
While the witness’s identity is unknown, fellow UVA student Ryan Lynch, who was on the bus during the shooting, said she saw Jones confront one of the players before the shooting began.
“We thought he was going to shoot everyone in the bus at that point,” Lynch said. “Chris got up and pushed Lavel, and then after he pushed him, he was like you’re all, you guys are always messing with me said something weird like that. But it was very bizarre because they didn’t talk to him the whole trip.”
Earlier this week, Jones’ younger brother and parents said the 22-year-old was being hazed and physically bullied.
“He had some problems the last time I talk to him. He said he was picking on him or whatever, he didn’t know how to handle it, and I just told him don’t pay it no mind, just go to school,” Jones’ father said. “He was really paranoid when I talk to him about something. He wouldn’t tell me everything.”
According to the prosecutor, when police arrived at the crime scene, Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry were found dead on the bus, while Lavel Davis Jr. died from his injuries at the hospital. Two other victims were also taken to the hospital.
One of the surviving victims, Mike Hollins, was discharged from the hospital on Nov. 15, and the other is in serious condition.
The 5th victim, Marlee Morgan, has now been discharged from the hospital.
Just this past September, it was reported to UVA’s Threat Assessment Team that Jones, a current student, may have possessed a gun.
In a statement, university officials say they spoke with Jones’ roommate, who said he never saw Jones with a weapon.
However, the university soon discovered that Jones was convicted of a misdemeanor for a concealed weapons violation in Chesterfield County in February 2021. Jones was given 12 months suspended on that charge.
In August 2020, Jones was charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run with property damage in Petersburg. He received two 12-month suspended sentences.
Throughout the investigation, Jones repeatedly refused to cooperate with university officials looking for additional information about the claims that he had a firearm about his failure to disclose the previous misdemeanor conviction.
Accordingly, on Oct. 27, Student Affairs decided to escalate his case for disciplinary action, but school officials admitted the report was never submitted to the University Judiciary Committee.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, is now facing the following charges:
- Three counts of second-degree murder
- Three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
- Two counts each of malicious wounding and use of a firearm
Albemarle Commonwealth Attorney James Hingely was asked about the nature of Jones’ second-degree murder charges, but he said he wouldn’t go into specifics discussed during Wednesday’s hearing.
“At some point in the future, we’re going to have a trial, and publicity before the trial in this community is going to affect or can affect Mr. Jones’ right to have a free prejudicial profile.
A status hearing for Jones has been set for Dec. 8 at 9:30 a.m.
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