University officials made the referral Tuesday after Jones did not disclose that he had a prior conviction for carrying a concealed handgun, Coy said. Coe said the university emailed Jones on Oct. 26 to warn him of the imminent possibility of disciplinary action and to urge him to speak with U-W. Officers. Coe emphasized that student disciplinary proceedings are protective and “usually take weeks or months.”
The new revelation comes as investigators continue to search for answers Jones’ criminal record came into greater focus in the shooting.
Football players Devin Chandler, LaVall Davis Jr. and DeSean Perry were killed and two others were injured in the shooting. One of the wounded had surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach and was recovering in hospital; UVA Medical Center said it has decided to discharge the other man.
The shooting shook the campus and students were sheltered in place while authorities searched for the gunman. On Tuesday, the mood was grim.
Buses flashed the names of the victims during their routes. Students placed hundreds of flowers at the north entrance of Scott Stadium, where the three slain teammates once played. They wrote notes, left teddy bears and shed tears outside the stadium. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) was among the mourners, stopping near the stage, leaving bouquets of flowers and bowing his head in prayer.
Accused U-V. The gunman was checked by a threat assessment team for a weapon
Classes will resume Wednesday, but students will not be required to complete graded assignments or take exams before Thanksgiving break, the university said.
As with other mass shootings, investigators and witnesses struggled Tuesday to understand what motivated the violence. Ryan Lynch, a student who was on the bus at the time of the shooting, said Jones didn’t know many of the other students on the field trip to see a play about Emmett Till in D.C. and didn’t interact much with them.
She said others on the bus told her they heard Jones yelling something before opening fire, as a result of “you’re always messing with me.”
“But that didn’t make sense because no one spoke to him the whole trip,” she said.
U-W. Athletic director Carla Williams said at a news conference Tuesday that she was not aware of any communication between Jones, who was on the football team. His freshman year — and members of the current roster. “I don’t believe — there was no overlap,” Williams said of Jones’ time on the team and Davis, Perry and Chandler, all transfers from Wisconsin. “So I don’t know if there was any interaction outside of class.”
Michael Hollins Sr., whose son Michael Hollins Jr. was injured, told family members that he heard Jones ask one of the players about a video game.
Following the shooting, U-V. The internal threat assessment team was notified about Jones in mid-September, officials said. A student reported that Jones told him he had a gun. The tipster did not see the gun himself, and there was no indication that Jones had made any specific threats regarding it, officials said.
The threat assessment team learned from the investigation that Jones’ roommate also did not see the gun. But investigators were unable to speak with Jones, U-W. Although efforts were made to do so, officials said.
The investigation also uncovered the fact that Jones had concealed possession of a weapon in Chesterfield County in 2021.
This sequence of events leading up to the shooting raises questions in hindsight: Did the threat assessment team find that Jones was not a threat? How does that solve the problem without talking to Jones directly? Why didn’t the university decide to knock on Jones’ door or insist that he come to a meeting as soon as possible to answer?
Coe said the university is unable to share more than it has already given during an intense period of crisis response.
“We are still in the midst of a criminal investigation and responding to the immediate aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred within 48 hours,” Coy wrote Tuesday afternoon. “I will update you with more information as I can.”
Police on Tuesday released new information on the concealed weapon case. On February 22, 2021, Jones was stopped while driving by Chesterfield County Police officers because his vehicle The registration “has not returned to file,” the department said in a statement.
During the stop, officers discovered Jones was in possession of a handgun that did not have a permit, the statement said. Court documents show it was a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
Officers also discovered Jones was wanted on two arrest warrants for reckless driving and fleeing the scene of an accident related to an August 2020 incident in Petersburg.
Jones was taken into custody on outstanding warrants and charged with a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, the statement said.
Jones pleaded guilty to gun charges in Chesterfield County General District Court in August 2021, according to court records. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to surrender the gun, which Chesterfield County police say is still in their possession.
Jones was scheduled to be arraigned on three murder charges related to U-W. Wednesday morning shooting. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
When a reporter arrived at the home Tuesday, Jones’ grandmother spoke only through the closed front door, saying she had no idea what happened and didn’t want to talk.
“Everything hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said.
She said she did not have a TV and only learned about the shooting when her relative called her at 6am on Monday. “He always went to church with me, sang in the choir,” she said of her grandson. “I have a lot of pictures of it and tapes of it and everything.”
She said she didn’t want to share the items with a reporter: “I’m not ready to show it.”
An additional sense of dread spread across campus after university officials announced Tuesday that they had arrested Brian Michael Silva, a 31-year-old Charlottesville native accused of making threatening online posts.
The posts prompted Charlottesville police to obtain a search warrant for a residence linked to Silva, who then took him into custody on charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and drug possession, according to a university news release. There was no connection with the school. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.
“Yesterday was a shock,” freshman Amog Sandle said. “Feels heavy today.”
He said that he never thought that his first months in college would go like this. Then again, school shootings seem more familiar than foreign to the 18-year-old.
“There has been senseless gun violence across the country,” he said. “I guess it’s just a matter of time before it gets to us.”
Anderson and Jovenal reported from Washington. Vocella reported from Petersburg. Emily Davis and Jeanne Wang in Charlottesville, Keith L. Alexander, Susan Zluga and William Wan in Washington contributed to this report.