National News from ABC

University of Virginia suspect allegedly shot football player as he slept: Prosecutor

The Henrico County, VA Sheriff’s Office

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — The 22-year-old University of Virginia student accused of gunning down three classmates allegedly shot one of the victims as he slept, according to prosecutors.

The three slain students, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, were all members of the football team.

Two other students were injured in the shooting that unfolded on a bus as it returned to the Charlottesville campus from a field trip in Washington, D.C., Sunday night.

The suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was taken into custody Monday morning following an overnight manhunt.

Prosecutors said a witness told police that Jones targeted specific students on the bus, including Chandler. Prosecutors claimed that Jones shot Chandler as he slept on the bus.

Jones is facing three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, according to University of Virginia Police Chief Timothy Longo. Jones also faces two counts of malicious wounding and firearm charges in connection to the two other students, Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney James Hingeley said.

Jones did not enter a plea at his first court appearance Wednesday. Jones, who previously worked at the Charlottesville Boys and Girls Club and at a local hospital, was given a temporary, court-appointed attorney.

UVA sophomore Ryan Lynch said she was on the bus when gunshots erupted.

“I was scared that with all the shots that were fired, he had shot everyone on the bus,” Lynch told ABC News. “So I thought he was going to shoot me, too.”

When asked if she had noticed any kind of animosity or tension between the shooter and the victims, Lynch said: “No. To my knowledge, they did not know him. The only thing is that they were on the football team.”

In 2018, Jones was a running back for the UVA’s football team, though he never played in a game. Athletics director Carla Williams said Jones was a student beginning in 2018 and was a walk-on for one semester. She said “there was no overlap” on the team between Jones and the victims, adding that she doesn’t “know if there was any interaction outside of the class.”

A motive is not known, according to University of Virginia President Jim Ryan.

UVA announced Thursday that it sent a letter to Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares “requesting the appointment of special counsel to conduct an independent, external review of the events surrounding” the mass shooting.

UVA must “take a hard look at what circumstances led up to the event and, how the University responded in the moment,” university rector Whitt Clement said in a statement. “Once an external review commences, we expect it to be the central avenue by which we gain a deeper understanding about what led to this tragic event. While many details of the review will involve protected student information or other confidential details, the University will provide as much information as we can through a summary report of the review’s findings and recommendations, once it is complete.”

Classes resumed on Wednesday, but undergraduates aren’t required to finish any graded assignments or take exams before Thanksgiving break, according to the university’s president.

UVA has canceled this weekend’s home football game against Coastal Carolina. UVA has not decided if it will play its final game of the season, set for Nov. 26 at Virginia Tech.

“I’m ready for somebody to pinch me and wake me up and say that this didn’t happen,” the head football coach, Tony Elliott, said at a news conference.

Jones is set to return to court on Dec. 8.

ABC News’ Faith Abubey, Luke Barr, Linsey Davis, Tia Humphries, Beatrice Peterson and Briana Stewart contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App