UVa gunman shot Chandler while he was sleeping on bus

UVa gunman shot Chandler while he was sleeping on bus

University of Virginia students and others on Monday sing “Amazing Grace” during a vigil for three students killed in a campus shooting. 

CHARLOTTESVILLE — A witness told police that University of Virginia shooting suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. targeted specific people when he opened fire on a charter bus returning from a field trip Sunday night, a prosecutor said in court Wednesday.

One of the three killed, Devin Chandler, was shot while he was sleeping, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley said during a hearing in Charlottesville.

Also killed were Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry. All three played for the university football team.

Jones, 22, appeared via a video feed for his first court appearance, where Judge Andrew Sneathern ordered him held without bond. He has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding and five firearm charges.

He did not enter a plea or speak during the hearing other than to respond to questions from the judge.

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Devin Chandler (from left), Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were killed in a shooting on Sunday.

Jones, who was a member of the team in 2018, was arrested in Henrico County after a manhunt that shut down the campus for more than 12 hours. He previously lived in Petersburg, although officials have not said what led him to the Richmond area.

Authorities have not released details about a possible motive.

Hingeley on Wednesday briefly outlined the police account of what happened on the bus, which had taken the students to a play production in Washington, D.C.

Hingeley said police responded to a report of shots fired call at about 10:30 p.m. near a Culbreth Road parking garage and found Chandler and Perry dead on the bus. Davis died at a hospital, he said.

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.


Also wounded in the shooting were football player Michael Hollins and student Marlee Morgan.

A witness told police that Jones was “aiming at certain people,” Hingeley said.

It’s unclear who the witness referenced in court is.

UVa student Ryan Lynch told The Washington Post on Tuesday that she was on the bus for a class field trip focused on African American playwrights. She said Jones wasn’t in the class, but had the professor for another course and was invited to take part in the trip to Washington, according to The Post.

Lynch described Jones as keeping to himself much of the day — sitting apart from the group while at the play and remaining largely quiet on the bus ride.


University of Virginia President Jim Ryan spoke Monday during a news conference about the shooting that killed three students and wounded two.

In a press gathering outside of the court after the hearing, Hingeley said that the investigation is ongoing. He cited the continued investigation as a reason he would be unable to comment much publicly on the case.

“Mr. Jones is presumed innocent and at some point, in the future, we’re going to have a trial,” Hingeley said.

Under a cloud of mourning, the university, resumed classes on Wednesday. It also was announced Wednesday that Virginia will not play its game scheduled for Saturday against Coastal Carolina.

UVa will conduct an external review of its flawed investigation of the suspect, president Jim Ryan said Wednesday night in a video message. A day earlier, a spokesperson for the university said the school never reported the suspected gunman to the school’s judiciary committee.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., urged university and state officials on Wednesday to convene an independent panel of experts to review every aspect of the fatal shooting of three members of the university’s football team on Sunday, as he did as governor days after a Virginia Tech student killed 32 students and faculty and wounded 17 others before killing himself on April 16, 2007.

The Virginia Tech Review Panel, led by retired Virginia State Police Superintendent Gerald Massengill, issued an unsparing report four months after the massacre with conclusions on how the incident was handled and flaws that needed to be corrected, particularly in laws governing treatment of people with mental illness and purchases of firearms.

Kaine said he avoided “making any snap conclusions until the assessment was done,” and recommended that UVa and state leaders take the same approach.

“Let’s get all the facts out on the table and then I think that will tell us the direction we need to go to make improvements,” he said in a news briefing on Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine



Kaine agreed that any assessment take an independent look at what he called “warning signs or red flags” that could have alerted the university to danger in Jones’ behavior, including a reported hazing incident, a concealed weapons violation and a pending student disciplinary review.

He said leaders should “embrace an ethic of ‘we want to get to the bottom of this’ and appoint members to the review panel who are independent of UVa and the families of students who were shot, in order to ensure that its recommendations are accepted as impartial.

Kaine, who has called the Virginia Tech shootings “the worst day of my life,” also acknowledged the trauma that persists from that shooting and others, including the fatal killing of a Roanoke television reporter and photojournalist during a live, on-air interview in 2015 at Smith Mountain Lake.

“In Virginia, we have a lot of scar tissue about this,” he said, also noting “everyday” shootings and violence in Richmond and other communities.

“Each one is its own tragedy, but each one also kind of reopens a wound that is really never healing,” Kaine said, “a wound that is comprised of all the past tragedies that we’ve lived through in the commonwealth and the country.”

Jones’ next court appearance is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 8.


Twitter: @charlottewords

Staff writer Michael Martz contributed to this report as did Sydney Shuler of The Daily Progress.

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