A torrent of grief has enveloped the University of Virginia, where classes were canceled for a second day after three football players were killed on campus and new details emerge about the fellow student accused of killing them.
A vigil Monday drew hundreds on the Charlottesville campus, with candles placed around the Statue of Homer along with signs reading “UVA Strong” and “1-15-41” – the uniform numbers of slain UVA football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.
Two other people were wounded, with one in critical and one in good condition, UVA spokesperson Brian Coy said Monday.
The victims had just returned from a school field trip late Sunday when they were gunned down on and near a school bus, officials have said. The suspect, an ex-UVA football player, was in custody by the next morning; it’s not clear if he was on the field trip.
The killings are among at least 68 shootings this year on US school grounds, including 15 on college campuses. The incident also is among some 600 US mass shootings this year in which at least four people were shot, excluding a gunman, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The UVA shooting prompted an hourslong manhunt – as students locked down in dorms, classrooms and libraries – before Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was arrested late Monday morning in Henrico County, about 80 miles east of Charlottesville.
Jones faces three charges of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said.
Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack.
A wave of support – locally and nationwide – flowed into Charlottesville.
Even the women’s basketball team at rival Virginia Tech wore “#HokiesforHoos” shirts Monday.
Classes at UVA are set to resume Wednesday, Mike Mather, managing editor for UVA Today, told CNN Tuesday afternoon.
Jones was the subject of a pending case with the university’s judicial council when Sunday’s shooting unfolded, officials said.
“On September 15, in the context of reviewing a potential hazing issue, UVA Student Affairs heard from a student that Mr. Jones made a comment to him about possessing a gun,” said Coy, the university spokesperson.
That person “did not see Mr. Jones in possession of a gun,” and the “comment about owning a gun was not made in conjunction with a threat,” Coy said.
“In the course of their investigation, University officials spoke with Mr. Jones’ roommate, who gave no indication of the presence of any weapons. In the course of their investigation, University officials discovered that Mr. Jones previously had been tried and convicted of a misdemeanor concealed weapons violation in 2021, for which he received a 12-month suspended sentence and a small fine.”
Throughout the investigation, Coy said, “Mr. Jones repeatedly refused to cooperate with University officials who were seeking additional information about the claims that he had a firearm and about his failure to disclose the previous misdemeanor conviction.”
So on October 27, “the Threat Assessment Team escalated his case for disciplinary action,” Coy said.
The school’s judicial council took over the case, and the results are pending, the university’s police chief said.
Jones is listed on UVA’s athletics website as a football player in 2018 who as a freshman did not participate in any games.
He attended Varina High School and Petersburg High School, where he played football as a linebacker and running back, according to his university athletics bio.
A UVA spokesperson told CNN Jones had a pre-existing injury that prevented him from playing on the football team in 2018.
Jones went through medical treatment and rehabilitation during his time with the team and was only a member of the team for one season, the spokesperson says.
The spokesperson would not give details on Jones’ injury.
All three of those killed and at least one of the two injured were UVA football players.
Davis, a junior from South Carolina, was one of the top wide receivers for the Virginia Cavaliers this season. As a 6-foot-7-inch receiver, he was the team’s primary deep threat, with 16 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns on the year, good for a stellar 23.2 yards per catch.
Perry, a junior linebacker, played in 15 games over the last three seasons. On Saturday against Pittsburgh, he tallied two tackles in the 37-7 loss. Perry’s parents thanked supporters for their condolences in a statement through their attorney.
Chandler, a junior wide receiver and kick returner, had recently transferred to UVA this offseason from the University of Wisconsin, where the football program said it was “deeply saddened” by the tragic deaths.
“This is a difficult time for players and staff because of the lasting impact Devin had on his friends and teammates,” a statement read. “Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and the Virginia football family.”
Student Michael Hollins was injured, according to the head football coach at the University Lab School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hollins is a junior running back for UVA, according to the team’s roster.
Hollins is expected to recover after he was shot in the back, with the bullet lodged in his stomach, his father, Michael Hollins Sr., told The Washington Post. The family did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Hollins was expected to graduate in December with a degree in entrepreneurship and African American history, his father told the Post.
Officials have not named the other injured victim.