3 UVA football players killed in campus shootout

3 UVA football players killed in campus shootout

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Three members of the University of Virginia football team were shot dead in a campus shootout Sunday night, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan said in 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, which also injured two students, erupted near a parking garage and sent the campus into an overnight lockdown while police searched for the shooter.

Officials learned during a morning news conference that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, had been arrested.

“Just give me a moment to thank God and breathe a sigh of relief,” university police chief Timothy Longo Sr. said after learning Jones was in custody.

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As the press conference began, the university’s police chief, Timothy Longo Sr., said officers were “fairly confident” the shooter was no longer on school property and urged the public to call 911 immediately if they found him or the child seeing the black SUV he was allegedly driving Longo then received word that he had been arrested.

The shooting happened just after 10:15 p.m. Sunday as a charter bus full of students was returning from a visit to the theater in Washington.

University President Jim Ryan said authorities did not have a “complete understanding” of the motive or circumstances surrounding the shooting.

“The entire university community is in mourning this morning,” said a visibly tense Ryan. “My heart is broken for the victims and their families and for everyone who knew and loved them.”

Courses and activities are canceled for Tuesday, according to Ryan.

Ryan said one of the wounded students was hospitalized in critical condition, the other in good condition.

University of Virginia Head Football Coach Tony Elliott released the following statement:

A GoFundMe was set up for Lavel Davis Jr.’s family to help with funeral expenses.

The shooting sparked an intense manhunt, with authorities searching the campus building by building while the students took shelter for more than 12 hours. The ban was lifted late Monday morning.

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

Jones once played on the soccer team but hadn’t been a member of the team for at least a year, Longo said.

The university’s threat assessment team became aware of Jones this fall after a person unaffiliated with the school reported a remark that Jones appeared to have made about possession of a gun, Longo said.

No threat was reported related to the concern about the gun, but officers were investigating and pursuing Jones’ roommate.

Longo also said Jones was involved in “some kind of investigation.” He said he did not have all the facts and circumstances of this case, although he said the investigation was dropped after witnesses failed to cooperate.

In addition, officers learned of a previous incident outside of Charlottesville involving a gun violation, Longo said. This incident was not reported to the university as it should have been, he said.

Eva Surovell, the editor-in-chief of student newspaper The Cavalier Daily, said after students received an alert about an active gunman late Sunday night, she ran to the parking garage but saw it blocked off by police. Walking to a nearby intersection, she was told to take shelter on the spot.

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

She waited with other reporters hoping to get more details, then returned to her room to begin working on the story. The seriousness of the situation has subsided.

“My generation is certainly one that grew up with gun violence in general, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it comes to your 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 who need on-campus support can call Counseling and Counseling Services 24 hours a day at (434) 243-5150. Faculty and staff can find a similar resource through the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program by calling (434) 243-2643 or emailing the office through the FEAP website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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