The former University of Virginia football player accused of shooting five of his former teammates, including three fatally, on a charter bus after returning from a class field trip Sunday night faced a prior hazing investigation, but the matter had been closed, according to UVA campus police.
Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr. – apprehended off-campus following a 12-hour manhunt and exhaustive, building-by-building search of the UVA grounds – also was facing a pending disciplinary matter after failing to report a prior February 2021 criminal matter involved a concealed weapon violation that occurred outside of Charlottesville as required of all students attending the D1 university.
A former UVA football player, Jones had not been on the team for over a year.
The three deceased victims have been identified as Devin Chandler, a second-year from Virginia Beach, Virginia; Lavel Davis, a third-year student from Ridgeville, South Carolina; and D’ Sean Perry, a fourth-year student from Miami, Florida. All three were members of the UVA football team.
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SHOOTING: EX-FOOTBALL PLAYER SUSPECT IN CUSTODY, VICTIMS ID’D AS FORMER TEAMMATES
Perry was reportedly a linebacker, while Chandler, a transfer student from the University of Wisconsin, and Davis were wide receivers. The motive for the shooting remains unclear, according to UVA officials.
Davis’ cousin, Sean Lampkin, a football coach at Newberry College in South Carolina, took to Twitter.
“Saddening, saddening news this morning. God took one of his most kind, humble, loving soldiers off of the battlefield last night,” Lampkin wrote. “Please pray for my family as we are devastated by the passing my cousin Lavel Davis Jr. Love and already miss you, kid.”
Another two UVA students remained hospitalized Monday, one in good condition and another in critical condition.
UVA officials would not identify them, but a source tells Fox News Digital that both were also members of the UVA football team and Jones allegedly nearly took out the entire offensive line.
The White House released a statement mourning the loss of life in Charlottesville before praising House Democrats for taking action to ban assault weapons and urging the Senate to do the same.
At an 11 a.m. press conference Monday, UVA Police Chief Timothy J. Longo spoke of Jones’ past.
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA MANHUNT: WHO IS EX-FOOTBALL PLAYER SHOOTING SUSPECT CHRISTOPHER DARNELL JONES, JR?
“Mr. Jones has also come to the attention of our threat assessment team because he was involved in a hazing investigation of some sort,” Longo said. “I don’t know the facts and circumstances of that investigation. I know it was eventually closed due to witnesses who would not cooperate with the process. But 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 Charlottesville in February 2021. What’s interesting about that case if he’s required as a student at the University of Virginia to report that, and he never did, so the university has taken appropriate administrative charges through the university’s judiciary council, and that matter is still pending adjudication.”
The shooting unfolded before 10:30 p.m. Sunday on a charter bus at an on-campus parking garage when students were turning from a class trip to see a play and have a meal together.
“The entire university community is grieving this morning. My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for all those who knew and loved them. And they are all in my prayers. As I said before when I see our students, I see my own kids, and I cannot imagine anything worse for a parent than to lose a child,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “Please know we will do everything we can to honor their lives and will come together soon to mourn these losses. In the meantime, if you need help, especially our students, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”
“And please reach out to each other and lend each other an ear and a shoulder even if virtually,” he added at the press conference. “This is an extraordinarily difficult day for our community, and we need to comfort and support each other and those closest to the victims of this horrendous shooting.”
Police responded to find the bodies of Perry and Chandler dead from gunshot wounds inside the bus. Davis was transported to the university medical center, where he died from his injuries.
“For hours we had to process a crime scene, and I know I don’t have to tell you how difficult that is for a family to now know and to see email chatter and social media. And we did our best to try to keep up with that,” Longo said.
Interrupted by a police captain, Longo was briefed that Jones had been taken into custody.
“Thank you, captain. We just received information that the suspect is in custody,” Longo said, taking a brief pause. “I just need a moment to thank God and breathe a sigh of relief.”
At about 10:30 a.m. Monday, a shelter in place order had been lifted after authorities determined Jones left the area. More than 500 students had remained sheltered in place inside buildings throughout grounds, studying in libraries, classrooms and other places, Longo said.
Jones was subsequently apprehended off campus, but police have not yet clarified where. An arrest warrant had been secured for Jones for three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in commission of a felony. The charges might be amended in the future, Longo said.
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report.