University of Virginia football players killed in shooting, police say
A suspect is in custody after killing three University of Virginia football players on a charter bus returning from a field trip, police said.
Ariana Triggs, USA TODAY
Classes were canceled at the University of Virginia for the second day in a row Tuesday as the campus community mourned the shooting deaths of three students returning from a class field trip.
De Sean Perry, LaVall Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler were members of UVA’s football team. The suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was on the team as a freshman in 2018 but did not play in a single game.
Jones, 22, was taken into custody Monday morning in Henrico County, Virginia, after a 12-hour manhunt. He faces three counts of second-degree murder and related charges.
University Police Chief Timothy Longo said a motive for the violence has not been determined.
“While we do not yet have a full understanding of the motives and circumstances surrounding these incidents, police are investigating as we speak,” UVA President James Ryan said Monday.
‘The community will come together’Prayers of vigilance in wake of UVA shooting that left 3 dead
Jones’ father, Christopher Darnell Jones Sr., says he’s still trying to come to terms with the allegations against his son. Jones Sr. told NBC 12 in Richmond that his son always excelled in everything he tried and had a “movie star smile.” But he said something was wrong when he and his son last spoke a month ago. He said some people were picking on his son and young Jones didn’t know how to handle it. Jones Sr. told his son to ignore it and go back to school.
“What happened? Why did it have to get this far?” His father said. “I don’t know what to say other than I’m sorry on his behalf, I apologize. He’s not a bad kid. He really isn’t.”
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Virginia head football coach Tony Elliott said all three victims had “big ambitions” and bright futures.
“I cannot find the words to express the devastation and heartache our team is feeling today after these tragic events,” Elliott said in a statement. These were incredible young people who touched us, inspired us, and worked incredibly hard. Our program, university, community, youth, rest in peace.
As a mother of three, Virginia Athletics Director Carla Williams said, “It’s heartbreaking for parents and families. We’ve lost three talented, brilliant young men. We’ll never see the impact they’ll have on the world, but we will. We’ll never forget the impact they had on us.
‘The community will come together’: Vigil and prayer in wake of UVA shooting that left 3 dead
Students, teachers and community members gathered Monday night to remember the dead and reflect on the tragedy. At fraternity and sorority houses away from the crime scene, students painted “UVA Strong” and “Virginia Strong” banners, displaying the names and numbers of Perry, Davis and Chandler. Luke Stone, a 21-year-old management and marketing major, said the messages were meant to encourage an emotionally damaged campus community.
“It’s a difficult day for a lot of people,” Stone said Monday afternoon, standing in front of a “Civil Strong” banner. “A sad, difficult day for all of us.”
– N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY
How was the shooting?
Jones and about two dozen other students took a bus trip to Washington, D.C., on Sunday to see a play and eat dinner before returning to school that night, Longo said. Longo said Jones opened fire as the bus was returning to campus around 10:30 p.m.