UVA Shooting: Prosecutor announces more charges against suspect in campus shooting before his first scheduled court appearance

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CNN

Additional charges were announced on Tuesday against the man accused of killing three football players and wounding two others in a weekend shooting at the University of Virginia ahead of his first appearance on Wednesday.

The new charges — two counts of intentional wounding, each accompanied by a firearm — are related to the two people injured in Sunday’s shooting, Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney James Hingeley told CNN.

The deadly violence broke out on a bus that had returned to the Charlottesville campus on Sunday after a field trip to Washington, D.C., where a class had seen a play, a UVA spokesperson said.

The suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was on the trip and on the bus, school spokesman Brian Coy confirmed.

Jones also faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a gun in the commission of a felony, UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo Sr. said. earlier.

Jones’ first hearing will take place Wednesday morning in Albemarle General District Court, court records show.

“On his first appearance, the defendant will be advised of his right to counsel,” Hingeley said. “Should he financially qualify for court-appointed counsel, a lawyer will be appointed for him. The court may also conduct a preliminary bail investigation.”

Jones was arrested Monday afternoon in Henrico County, about 80 miles east of Charlottesville, and was transferred Tuesday afternoon to the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Penitentiary.

When Hingeley announced the additional charges Tuesday night, Hingeley identified the people injured in the shooting as Marlee Morgan and Michael Hollins.

Hollins, a junior running back on the college football team, was intubated Tuesday morning but stable, his family said. CNN reached out to Marlee Morgan’s family.

UVA Health spokesman Eric Swensen gave CNN a status update on the two injured on Tuesday, saying one person had been discharged and the other was in serious condition. Swensen did not identify either person.

The three football players killed in the shooting had previously been identified as Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.

UVA student Ryan Lynch told CNN affiliate KYW-TV that she was on the bus where the shooting took place and saw Jones push one of the victims.

“Chris got up and pushed Lavel,” Lynch said. “After he pushed him, he was like, ‘You always play with me.’ Said such a weird thing but it was very bizarre because they didn’t talk to him the whole trip.

Then the gunfire erupted.

“They just kept coming, more and more gunfire,” Lynch told KYW. “We thought he was going to shoot everyone on the bus.”

But “the shooter just walked or jumped off the bus,” Lynch said.

Prior to Sunday’s shooting, Jones was the subject of a pending case with the university’s judicial board as Sunday’s shooting unfolded, officials said.

“On Sept. 15, as part of an investigation into a possible hazing issue, UVA Student Affairs learned from a student that Mr. Jones had made a comment to him about owning a gun,” said Brian Coy, the university’s spokesman.

That person “did not see Mr. Jones in possession of a gun,” and the “remark about possession of a gun was not made in conjunction with a threat,” Coy said.

“During their investigation, university officials spoke to Mr Jones’ roommate, who gave no indication of the presence of guns. During their investigation, University officials found that Mr Jones had previously been tried and convicted of a 2021 concealed weapons offense, for which he received a 12-month suspended prison sentence and a small fine.

Coy said during the investigation: “Mr. Jones repeatedly refused to cooperate with university officials seeking additional information about the claims he had a firearm and his failure to publicly disclose his previous felony conviction.

“The Threat Assessment Team escalated its case for disciplinary action” on Oct. 27, Coy said.

The school’s judicial board took over the case and the results are pending, said Longo, the school’s chief of police.

Jones was also involved in a hazing investigation on campus that was closed because witnesses would not cooperate, Longo said.

Jones is listed on UVA’s athletics website as a football player in 2018 who did not participate in any game as a freshman. A UVA spokesperson told CNN Jones that he had a pre-existing injury that prevented him from playing on the football team in 2018.

Jones underwent medical treatment and rehabilitation during his time with the team and was only a member of the team for one season, the spokesman said.

“What I do know is that the young man was a student from 2018 and spent a semester with our football program,” said Carla Williams, director of UVA Athletics.

On Tuesday, UVA football head coach Tony Elliott spoke publicly for the first time since the shooting. He described the days after the attack as a nightmare.

“I’m ready for someone to pinch me and wake me up and say this didn’t happen,” Elliott said, adding Tuesday was “much better, we were able to transition from the pain to the finding a little joy in celebrating the lives of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin.”

The deaths of players Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry left three huge holes in a team that felt more like family than anything, 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.”

From left to right: Devin Chandler, D'Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr.

Elliott praised the strength of his team and staff for coming together and handling the shooting. Elliott said the team has inspired him to keep moving forward. At the same time, he said the staff made it their mission to ensure the team had all the resources they needed and that no one was left isolated.

“The message to the team is that we’re going to celebrate their lives going forward and the impact they’ve made so far and the legacy they’re going to be part of to help us move forward,” said Elliott.

As the team and community mourn, questions remain about the logistics of football and the university as a whole going forward. Classes at UVA will resume on Wednesday, Mike Mather, editor-in-chief of UVA Today, told CNN Tuesday afternoon.

On Saturday, the Cavaliers also play a game against Coastal Carolina.

Williams said the athletics department – along with the football team and staff – will make the decision on whether to play on Saturday.

“We’ll use common sense,” she said late Tuesday. “We will make a decision soon.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled UVA Health spokesperson Eric Swensen’s last name.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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