UVa student charged in deaths of 3 football players shot one victim in his sleep, prosecutor says

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A University of Virginia student accused of fatally shooting three football players after a field trip over the weekend shot one of the victims as he slept and appeared to be targeting “certain people,” prosecutors said Wednesday.

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, appeared Wednesday morning via video link from jail for his first trial. No bail was set.

Jones appeared emotionless at the hearing, wearing a black and white prison uniform. He was appointed as a lawyer on an interim basis and said he intends to employ private lawyers.

“I will seek my own counsel,” he told the court.

Describing the facts of the case, Prosecutor James Hingeley of the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office noted that all five individuals had been shot.

He said Jones shot victim Devin Chandler while he was sleeping, according to a witness, and he slid to the floor.

The witness reported that Jones was aiming at “certain people” and “didn’t shoot at random,” Hingeley said.

Jones has been charged with three counts of manslaughter, five counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of willful wounding in connection with the campus massacre, court documents show.

His next court date is set for December 8.

Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. were killed in the shooting on Sunday evening. Two other students were injured. One remained hospitalized in serious condition and another was discharged Tuesday, University of Virginia Health spokesman Eric Swensen said.

The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, after Jones and about two dozen classmates returned to campus from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C., university spokesman Brian Coy said.

When the students returned to campus, gunfire was reported in a parking garage near the school’s drama building, officials said.

The gunman fled, prompting a manhunt and a stay-at-home order that lasted about 12 hours.

Henrico County police arrested the suspect just before 11 a.m. Monday in Richmond, about 75 miles southeast of the Charlottesville campus.

More coverage of the deadly University of Virginia shooting

The gun violence has devastated the university community. University officials canceled classes on Tuesday and provided counselors and therapy dogs.

Jones’s father said he was in shock at the violence and that his son recently told him that some people were “harassing him”, but did not go into details.

His father, Christopher Darnell Jones Sr., told NBC affiliate WWBT of Richmond, Virginia, “I can’t believe it was him. I still can’t believe it now.”

He said the last time he spoke to his son was a month ago.

The University of Virginia canceled its final home game of the season on Wednesday due to the shooting. Perry was a linebacker and Chandler and Davis Jr. were both wide receivers.

The suspect was listed on the 2018 roster shared on the Cavaliers website, and his profile states that he did not appear in any games. He was also not on the roster in any of the following seasons.

Antonio Planas reported from Charlottesville, Marlene Lenthang reported from New York.

David K. Li, The associated press and Liz Brown-Kaiser contributed.

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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