Classes remain canceled at the University of Virginia as campus mourns 3 football players who were fatally shot
The University of Virginia canceled classes Tuesday as it “continues to work through the emotional toll” of Sunday’s shooting that left three of the school’s football players dead and two other people injured.
The shooting prompted an hourslong manhunt extending from Sunday night into Monday morning. It ended when the alleged gunman, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was arrested in Henrico County, about 80 miles east of Charlottesville. Jones 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 Sr. said Monday.
Police have not offered a motive for the attack.
The three players who died in the shooting were wide receivers Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr., along with linebacker D’Sean Perry, according to the university.
Two other students were also injured, but only one of them — Michael Hollins — was identified. The two wounded students are being treated at UVA Medical Center, with one in critical condition and the other in good condition, UVA spokesperson Brian Coy said, declining to name them.
A wave of support — both locally and nationwide — flowed into Charlottesville after the news broke Monday. The school held a candlelight vigil Monday, drawing hundreds to the campus, according to a tweeted photo from the school’s football team.
The women’s basketball team at rival Virginia Tech wore “#HokiesforHoos” shirts Monday.
The University of Wisconsin, where Chandler previously played, released a statement saying their program was “deeply saddened ” by the tragic deaths.
“This is a difficult time for players and staff because of the lasting impact Devin had on his friends and teammates,” the statement read. “Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and the Virginia football family.”
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on the shooting shortly after swearing in a new ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago on Monday.
“It’s tragic,” Harris said. “Of course, our prayers are with the families of the victims and it’s just yet a constant reminder that we have to do better in terms of gun safety laws in our country.”
At least 68 shootings have unfolded this year on US school grounds, including 15 on college campuses, with at least one person shot in each case, not including the shooter. The deadliest school shooting in modern US history remains the 2007 attack at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where a 23-year-old student killed 32 people before dying by suicide.
The shooting at the Charlottesville campus is also one of nearly 600 mass shootings in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which like CNN tallies cases in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Alleged gunman was spotted by an officer
The shooting at UVA took place Sunday as a class was returning from a trip to Washington, DC. The class had seen a play, university officials said, and it was not immediately clear if Jones was part of that class or attended the field trip.
Police responded to a report of shots fired around 10:30 p.m. in an area near a parking garage on Culbreth Road and surrounded by academic buildings, university President Jim Ryan said. Two slain victims were inside the bus, with the third victim taken to a hospital, where he died, said Longo, the school’s police chief.
The call prompted a shelter-in-place alert that was lifted about 12 hours later, Longo said. More than 500 people sheltered throughout campus buildings, including in libraries and classrooms, he said.
Classes at UVA and for Charlottesville city schools were canceled Monday as a result of the shooting.
Authorities launched a manhunt for Jones following the attack Sunday. Then, around 11 a.m. ET Monday, a Henrico County police officer spotted the vehicle Jones was driving in the eastern area of the county where he was “taken into custody without incident,” according to news release from the police division.
Jones is listed on UVA’s athletics website as a football player in 2018 who as a freshman did not participate in any games. He attended Varina High School and Petersburg High School, where he played football as a linebacker and running back, according to his university athletics bio.
A UVA spokesperson told CNN Jones had a pre-existing injury that prevented him from playing on the football team in 2018. Jones went through medical treatment and rehabilitation during his time with the team and was only a member of the team for one season, the spokesperson says.
The spokesperson would not give details on Jones’ injury.
Jones had previously been on the radar of campus authorities. In September, authorities found out Jones “had made a comment about possessing a gun” to someone “unaffiliated with the university,” Longo said at Monday’s news conference. But that person never actually saw the gun in question, he said.
“Through the course of the threat assessment team’s investigation, we learned of a prior criminal incident involving a concealed weapon violation that occurred outside the city of Charlotteville in February of 2021,” Longo said, adding the suspect was required to report that incident to the university but never did. The school’s judicial council took over the case, and the results are pending.
Jones was also involved in a hazing investigation on campus that was closed because witnesses would not cooperate, Longo said.
All 3 killed and 1 injured are UVA football players
All three of those killed and at least one of the two injured were confirmed to be UVA football players.
Lavel Davis Jr., a junior from South Carolina, was one of the top wide receivers for the Virginia Cavaliers this season. As a 6-foot-7-inch receiver, Davis was the team’s primary deep threat, with 16 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns on the year, good for a stellar 23.2 yards per catch.
D’Sean Perry, a junior linebacker, has played in 15 games over the last three seasons. On Saturday against Pittsburgh, he tallied two tackles in the 37-7 loss. In a statement through their attorney, Michael Haggard, Perry’s parents thanked the South Florida and Charlottesville communities for the support they’ve received since the shooting.
Devin Chandler, a junior wide receiver and kick returner, had recently transferred to UVA this offseason from the University of Wisconsin.
One of the two injured students is Michael Hollins, according to Andrew Martin, the head football coach at the University Lab School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hollins is a junior running back for UVA, according to the team’s roster. CNN has reached out to Hollins’ family but has not received a response.
Hollins’ father, Michael Hollins Sr., told The Washington Post his son was shot in the back with the bullet lodged in his stomach. Hollins Sr. told the Post he’s expected to recover.
Hollins was expected to graduate in December with a degree in entrepreneurship and African American history, his father told the Post.
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