COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia State Police are currently investigating an attempted gun purchase made by the UVA student who shot and killed three of his former football players earlier this month.
The owner of Dance’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights said in a statement to 10 On Your Side that the shooter legally purchased two guns from the store earlier this year.
“There was nothing noteworthy about these purchases,” the statement said.
However, the suspect attempted to purchase guns from the same store twice before and was denied. The first time was in 2018 when he was turned away for being underage. Then again in 2021, when he failed a background check.
The store said they alerted Virginia State Police on both instances.
10 On Your Side reached out to VSP to try and find out what changed in 2022 to make the shooter eligible to buy guns after failing that initial background check.
VSP told WAVY that the felony charge he was facing had been reduced to a misdemeanor, meaning he then was able to purchase the gun without issue.
“The Virginia State Police Firearms Transaction Center denied Jones’ request based on a pending charge. The pending charge was reduced to a misdemeanor by the court in October 2021, thereby removing the prohibition against future purchases,” said VSP’s Public Relations Director Corinne Gellar.
While VSP could not comment on what the charge was, 10 On Your Side discovered through court documents that in 2021, the suspect faced a felony charge in Petersburg, Virginia, of failing to stop at the scene of an accident, which was pled down to a misdemeanor charge of not reporting an accident.
The suspect is due back in court on December 8 and is facing three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding, and five counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.