Three University of Virginia (UVA) football players were tragically killed and two others were wounded during a shooting rampage on a charter bus that had just returned from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C.
University President Jim Ryan confirmed that D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler were killed on the evening of Sunday, November 13, by suspected shooter 22-year-old Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a former UVA football player and current UVA student.
The two wounded victims were transported to UVA Medical Center. As of November 15, one had been released, but the other was reported to be in serious condition.
Perry was a 6-foot-3 junior linebacker from Miami. Davis was a 6-foot-7 junior wide receiver from Dorchester, South Carolina, and Chandler was a 6-foot junior wide receiver from Huntersville, North Carolina, who transferred this year from the University of Wisconsin.
A student who was on the bus told KYW-TV that she saw Jones push Davis, seemingly without provocation. Shortly thereafter, he opened fire, but appeared to only target specific people. Chandler was killed while he was sleeping, the Albemarle County prosecutor noted. Then Davis simply walked off the bus.
“This is a sad, shocking and tragic day for our UVA community,” Ryan said at a news briefing.
“This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia,” Ryan added in an open letter on social media. “This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community.”
Students on campus were visibly shaken by the event, which prompted a text alert from the school that read: “ACTIVE ATTACKER firearm reported in area of Culbreth Road. RUN HIDE FIGHT.” There was a 12-hour lockdown on the UVA campus while the suspect was at large.
Jones, who never appeared in a game for the university, was arrested shortly before 11 a.m. the next morning in Henrico County after local police spotted his vehicle.
Henrico police said the suspect was taken into custody “without incident.”
University Police Chief Timothy Longo was relieved to hear Jones was in custody.
“Just give me a moment to thank God, breathe a sigh of relief,” Longo said.
Governor Glenn Youngkin released a statement announcing that state police were coordinating with local authorities during the investigation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) also said its agents were participating.
The victims’ friends and fellow members of the football program mourned their loss. “Can’t put into words the physical and mental pain that comes with losing not just teammates, but brothers,” running back Wayne Taulapapa tweeted. “You were never just football players, but rather examples of great and honorable young men.”
UVA athletics director Carla Williams and UVA head football coach Tony Elliot released statements expressing their condolences. “We lost three talented and bright young men,” Williams said. “We will never see what their impact on the world would have been, but we will never forget their impact on us. I miss Lavel, D’Sean and Devin. I pray for peace, comfort and hope for their parents and loved ones.”
“These were incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures. Our hearts ache for their families, their classmates and their friends. These precious young men were called away too soon,” Elliot said.
Jones was known to campus police. He had previously been charged with a concealed weapons misdemeanor violation that occurred off campus, and was convicted of a reckless driving hit-and-run in 2021. Has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony and two counts of malicious wounding, each accompanied by a firearm charge. His motive for the shooting remains unclear.