UVA shooting suspect shot one victim while he was sleeping, appeared to be “aiming at certain people,” prosecutor says

A witness who noticed a University of Virginia pupil open hearth on a bus coming back from a subject journey described to police how the gunman focused particular victims — a lot of them soccer gamers — shooting one of them as he slept, a prosecutor mentioned in court docket Wednesday. The particulars emerged in the course of the suspect’s first court docket look.

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley mentioned a witness who was proven a photograph of the shooting suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., recognized him because the gunman. The violence Sunday night time left three soccer gamers lifeless and one participant and one other pupil wounded.

The suspect, a former soccer participant, appeared by video hyperlink from an area jail for Wednesday’s court docket listening to. He didn’t enter a plea to the quite a few expenses he faces and mentioned he plans to hire an legal professional. A choose ordered him held with out bond and appointed a public defender to characterize him till he secures personal counsel.

University officers and police have mentioned the 22-year-old suspect joined a bunch of about two dozen others on a subject journey Sunday from the Charlottesville campus to see a play within the nation’s capital, about 120 miles away. When their bus arrived again on campus, authorities have mentioned the suspect opened hearth, killing Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler.

From left, college football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry are seen in a combination photo of undated images provided by University of Virginia Athletics.
From left, faculty soccer gamers Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry are seen in a mix photograph of undated photographs offered by University of Virginia Athletics.

University of Virginia Athletics by way of AP

One witness instructed police the suspect pointed the gun at Chandler, shot him as he was sleeping, and Chandler slid to the ground, Hingeley mentioned.

The witness mentioned the suspect was “aiming at certain people” and never shooting randomly, in accordance to Hingeley.

Responding officers discovered Chandler and Perry lifeless on the bus, Hingeley mentioned. Davis died from his wounds at a hospital, he mentioned.

The public defender appointed to characterize the suspect didn’t handle the substance of the fees Wednesday. She additionally declined remark outdoors of court docket.

The choose set a December standing listening to within the case.

Authorities mentioned the suspect was ready to flee the shooting scene, setting off a manhunt and 12-hour campus lockdown earlier than he was taken into custody elsewhere within the state late Monday morning. The suspect faces three counts of second-degree homicide, two counts of malicious wounding and extra gun-related expenses.

The violence at the state’s flagship public college has set off days of mourning amongst college students and school, the broader Charlottesville neighborhood and different supporters. Classes resumed Wednesday.

University President Jim Ryan mentioned Monday that authorities didn’t have a “full understanding” of the motive behind the shooting. Court paperwork filed to date within the matter have provided no extra perception, and Hingeley didn’t handle a attainable motive Wednesday.

In a video assertion posted to Facebook on Wednesday night time, Ryan mentioned “it’s possible, and perhaps likely, that we will never find one single thing that will explain this. It may also be that we never truly understand why this happened.” 

Ryan mentioned that the varsity is “inviting an external review with respect to the university’s interactions with the suspect, and whether we did all we could to prevent or avoid this tragedy.”

Flowers were left outside Scott Stadium at a makeshift memorial for three slain University of Virginia football players on November 14, 2022, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Flowers had been left outdoors Scott Stadium at a makeshift memorial for 3 slain University of Virginia soccer gamers on November 14, 2022, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Also Wednesday, the varsity introduced that it was canceling its remaining house recreation of the season scheduled for Saturday in opposition to Coastal Carolina. Ryan mentioned Wednesday night time that there would as an alternative be a memorial service Saturday “to honor the lives” of the three slain soccer gamers, together with the 2 different college students who had been wounded. 

In saying the cancellation, the college said in a news release that no determination has been made but about whether or not UVA will take part in its remaining recreation of the season Nov. 26 in opposition to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

The suspect was a member of the soccer staff in the course of the 2018 season, a one-semester walk-on, in accordance to athletics director Carla Williams.

In interviews, his father has expressed confusion and astonishment and apologized to the victims’ households.

Of the 2 college students who had been hospitalized, one was discharged from the medical middle Tuesday, in accordance to Eric Swensen, a well being system spokesperson.

Family members of Mike Hollins, a operating again on the staff, have mentioned he underwent a second surgical procedure Tuesday.

In her first tv interview for the reason that shooting, Hollins’ mom Brenda Hollins instructed CBS News that her son doesn’t but know three of his buddies and teammates had been killed.

In court docket Wednesday, Hingeley additionally reviewed the suspect’s previous felony report. In February 2021, he was charged in Chesterfield County with possession of a hid handgun and not using a allow and later given a 12-month suspended sentence, Hingeley mentioned.

At the time of that arrest, the suspect had two excellent warrants in reference to a hit-and-run accident with property harm and reckless driving from Petersburg. He was convicted of each expenses and likewise given 12-month suspended sentences on each, Hingeley mentioned.

The college has mentioned the suspect’s failure to report the misdemeanor hid weapon conviction was a consideration in an ongoing assessment of him by its threat-assessment staff. The college initially mentioned its pupil affairs office had escalated the suspect’s case in late October to the University Judiciary Committee, a student-run physique that would have enacted disciplinary motion. But late Tuesday night time, a spokesperson confirmed the college had not really escalated the report and was engaged on doing so.

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