A student accused of killing three University of Virginia football players after a field trip was denied bail Wednesday during a court hearing in Charlottesville.
According to the witness, the suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. shot one of the players, Devin Chandler, as he slept, the Albemarle County prosecutor said. UVA Cavaliers teammate Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were also killed.
Wednesday’s hearing also revealed that Jones was charged and convicted of reckless driving and hit and run in 2021 and had a concealed weapons charge that same year. He received suspended sentences for all crimes.
Jones remains in custody at the Albemarle-Charlottesville County Jail, according to online reports. He was granted a public defender until his next hearing in December — a status hearing that will discuss whether Jones has retained personal counsel, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley said.
Jones was on a Sunday trip with other UVA students to see a game in Washington, DC, a university spokeswoman said.
As the bus returned to the Charlottesville campus, authorities said, the 22-year-old opened fire on the bus, killing Chandler, Davis and Perry.
Jones faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a crime, UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr.
He also faces two counts of aggravated assault, each with a firearm charge. Two others were wounded in the shooting, Hingeley said.
The prosecutor said the injured were Marlee Morgan and Michael Hollins.
In an emailed statement, UVA Health spokesman Eric Swensen indicated, without naming anyone, that one of the injured remains hospitalized in fair condition.
Hollins, a junior running back on the varsity football team, was shaken but stable Tuesday morning, his family said. On Wednesday, the family said in a statement that he underwent two successful surgeries in the past 48 hours.
“As Mike begins the road to recovery – physically, emotionally and spiritually – the process will take time,” read a statement from the family. We ask that you respect his privacy and continue to give him room to correct it.
CNN reached out to Marlee Morgan’s family.
UVA student Ryan Lynch told CNN affiliate KYW-TV that he was on the bus where the shooting happened and saw Jones push one of the victims.
“Chris got up and pushed Lavel,” Lynch said. After he pushed her, she said, ‘You guys always bother me.’ He said such a strange thing, but it was strange because they did not speak to him during the whole trip.”
Then the gunfire erupted.
Lynch told KWW: “They keep coming, the shots keep coming. We thought he was going to shoot everyone on the bus.
But “the gun went off or, like, jumped the bus,” Lynch said.
Jones bought two guns, a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol, at different prices this year, according to the owner of Dance’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights.
But Jones also had two unsuccessful attempts to buy a gun there, Marlon Dance told CNN in an email. In 2018 he was under the legal age (21) to buy a gun and was denied the purchase. Three years later he tried to buy a gun, but failed a background check, according to Dance.
In an email to CNN, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said an investigation into the attempted purchase on July 8, 2021 revealed that the state’s firearms enforcement agency denied Jones’ request based on the circumstances. ongoing legal.
“The pending charge was reduced to a misdemeanor by the court in October 2021, thereby removing the prohibition against future purchases,” Geller said.
CNN reached out to University of Virginia Police for comment on the investigation into the shooting and the gun used but has not heard back.
UVA’s scheduled game against Coastal Carolina on Saturday has been canceled, the university’s athletic department announced Wednesday.
“The game would have been Virginia’s last home game of the 2022 season,” said a statement from the athletic department.
“A decision on whether Virginia will participate in its final game of the season, Nov. 26 (Saturday) against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, has not been made at this time.”
Meanwhile, the Atlantic Coast Conference released guidelines Wednesday detailing how the conference will support UVA going forward.
“ACC is a family and when one member of our family suffers, we all suffer,” said Jim Phillips, ACC commissioner, in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and we will continue to support UVA in any way possible during this difficult time.”
The ACC has introduced UVA helmets to be worn by every school in the conference, and a moment of silence will be observed at all ACC football games this coming week, according to a statement from the conference.
ACC also introduced Strong UVA graphics for conference schools to use social and digital media.
Before Sunday’s shooting, Jones was the subject of a pending lawsuit with the university’s jury at the time of Sunday’s shooting, officials said.
“On September 15, in the course of investigating a possible incident, UVA Student Affairs learned from a student that Mr. Jones had made comments to him about having a gun,” said Brian Coy, a university spokesman.
The person “did not see Mr. Jones with a gun,” and “the suggestion of having a gun was not made in conjunction with the threat,” Coy said.
“While investigating, University officers spoke with Mr. Jones’ roommate, who did not give any indication of the presence of any weapons. In the course of their investigation, University officials discovered that Mr. Jones had previously been charged and convicted of a concealed weapons violation in 2021, for which he received a sentence of suspended for 12 months and a minor penalty.”
Coy said throughout the investigation “Mr. Jones repeatedly refused to cooperate with University officials who wanted more information about the allegations that he had a gun and about his failure to disclose a prior misdemeanor conviction.”
“The Threat Assessment Team extended his case for disciplinary action” on October 27, Coy said.
A school jury took over the case, and the results are pending, said Longo, the school’s police chief.
Jones was also involved in a fatal investigation on campus that was closed because witnesses would not cooperate, Longo said.
Jones is listed on UVA’s athletic website as a 2018 football player who, as a freshman, did not participate in any games. A UVA spokesperson told CNN Jones has a pre-existing injury that prevented him from playing on the football team in 2018.
Jones received medical treatment and rehabilitation while with the group and was a one-time member of the group, the spokesperson said.
“What I do know is that the guy was a freshman in 2018 and it was a one-semester walk-on with our football program,” Williams said Tuesday.
On Tuesday, UVA head football coach Tony Elliott spoke publicly for the first time since the shooting. He described the days following the attack as a nightmare.
“I’m willing for somebody to hit me and wake me up and say this is not happening,” Elliott said, adding that Tuesday “was a lot better, we were able to go from pain to to find a little joy. to celebrate the lives of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin.”
Death of players Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry left three big holes on a team that felt more like a family than anything else, the coach said. He went on to describe them, calling Chandler “the life of the party,” Davis “the big guy on campus” and Perry “the quiet guy everyone wanted to know about.”
Elliott praised the strength of his team and staff in coming together and being able to handle shots. Elliott said the team encouraged him to keep moving forward. At the same time, he said the staff did their job to ensure that the team had all the equipment they needed and that no one was isolated.
“The message to the team is that we will celebrate their lives going forward and the impact they have made so far and the legacy that will be part of helping us move forward,” Elliott said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the last name of UVA Health spokesman Eric Swensen.