RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Authorities said the University of Virginia was alerted in September that the student suspected of killing three other students and wounding two more said he owned a gun, a claim police said was investigated — but did not turn up “any threats.”
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. was arrested Monday in Henrico County after a shooting that led the university to shelter in place overnight. Jones, 22, faces three counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.
Two other students were wounded and are being treated for their injuries. One is in good condition, and the other is in critical condition, university police said Monday.
In a Monday morning press conference, university Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said someone alerted the school’s threat assessment team in September that Jones said he owned a gun.
“Mr. Jones came to the attention of the University of Virginia’s threat assessment team in the fall of 2022,” Chief Longo said. “In fact, in September of 2022, our Office of Student Affairs reported to the multidisciplinary threat assessment team that Mr. Jones, they received information that Mr. Jones had made a comment about possessing a gun to a person that was unaffiliated with the university.”
Longo added that to the best of the university’s knowledge, the person never saw Jones in possession of a gun and the comment “was not made in conjunction with any threats.” University police did not contact Jones, Longo said Monday.
The university’s student affairs office followed up with the person who initially made the report, with Jones’ roommate and tried to contact Jones. Jones’ roommate told the university they did not see Jones with any weapon, according to Longo.
Jones was also involved in a previous hazing investigation, although Longo said he didn’t know the facts and circumstances of the case.
The hazing investigation was closed after witnesses would not cooperate, Longo said. But the probe led the university to learn about a concealed weapon violation involving Jones.
Longo said Jones did not report the violation, which took place outside of Charlottesville in February of 2021, to the school as he was required to as a student.
The University of Virginia moved forward with administrative charges against Jones for the violation through its judiciary counsel, Longo added, and the issue is still pending adjudication.
University of Virginia President Jim Ryan said during Monday’s press conference that the shootings took place Sunday night on a bus full of students returning from a field trip. He added that a “full understanding of the motive and circumstances” of the shootings is unclear.