CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — At the request of University of Virginia, Attorney General Jason Miyares has agreed to begin an independent review of the events surrounding the tragic shooting that killed three UVA football players and injured two other students.
On Thursday, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and University Rector Whitt Clement issued a letter to Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares requesting the appointment of a special counsel in the case.
Ryan and Clement aim for the special counsel to “conduct an independent, external review of the events” that occurred on the University’s Grounds Sunday evening. The University’s letter requests the appointment of a firm with “sufficient expertise and resources to rigorously review the University’s actions before, during and after the shooting.”
Ryan first spoke of the external review in a video message to the University community on Wednesday evening.
“The University of Virginia community remains in a state of shock and mourning after three members of our community were killed and another two were seriously wounded on Nov. 13,” said Ryan. “In the wake of that tragedy, our top priority has been offering students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni the support and resources they need as they continue to grieve and process this terrible tragedy.”
The Attorney General has the authority to appoint a special counsel to serve state agencies under specific circumstances.
“After a tragedy of this nature, it is important for the affected institution to take a hard look at what circumstances led up to the event and, how the University responded in the moment,” Clement said. “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.”
AG Miyares has agreed to the request. His spokesperson, Victoria LaCivita issued this statement.
“The Office of the Attorney General, at the request of the University of Virginia and its Board of Visitors, will be conducting a review of the events that led to the tragic death of three university students last Sunday evening. Attorney General Jason Miyares will enlist special counsel to assist the Office in completing this important work.
“A public report will be shared with students, families, the larger UVA community, and government officials at the appropriate time. The Attorney General will work with deliberate speed while ensuring that all necessary resources remain devoted to the criminal investigation being conducted by state and local authorities.”
On Thursday, Virginia State Police announced that they will be taking over the criminal investigation surrounding the deadly incident.
State Police has been involved since the early stages and will assume primary responsibility of the investigation in cooperation with university, local, and federal law enforcement agencies.
The suspect in the shooting, Christopher Darnell Jones, a former UVA football player, is currently being held without bond.
The State Police investigation to-date has found Jones traveled with a couple dozen UVA students to see a theater performance in Washington, D.C. They returned to UVA in their chartered bus around 10:15 p.m. As students were getting up to exit the bus, State Police investigators say Jones began firing in the bus and as he exited. He left the area in his Dodge Durango. He was taken into custody more than 12 hours later by Henrico County Police.
State Police, in a Thursday news release, said they were still working to piece together where Jones was between the time of the shooting and his arrest.
They did confirm a handgun was recovered “in relative proximity” to the shooting scene and that investigators recovered a rifle and a handgun in Jones’ Charlottesville home.
His next court hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 8. He is facing three counts of second-degree murder and five counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and two counts of malicious wounding in connection with the shooting on Grounds.
During his arraignment Wednesday, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley stated that a witness during the shooting reported seeing Jones pointing his gun and firing at specific people. The witness also recalled seeing Devin Chandler, one of the three victims who died, was asleep when Jones shot him. The witness added seeing Chandler “sliding to the floor.”
Chandler, along with Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, died during the Sunday evening shooting. All three played for the Cavaliers football team.
Mike Hollins, a UVA running back from Baton Rouge, was injured and hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. WAVY News 10 has learned his condition has improved. A UVA student from Houston, Marlee Morgan, was also injured. WAVY’s sister station in Richmond reports she was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
The following agencies are assisting in the ongoing investigation: the University of Virginia Police, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Albemarle County Police, Charlottesville Police, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, Office of the Virginia Attorney General, ATF and FBI.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.