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UVA shooting suspect set for December hearing

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley speaks outside Albemarle General District Court on Wednesday.
Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley speaks outside Albemarle General District Court on Wednesday. Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a suspect in the Sunday shooting at UVA, was assigned a public defender and given a Dec. 8 hearing date. (Photo: Whittney Evans/VPM News)

The University of Virginia student accused of fatally shooting three football players and injuring two more is being held without bond at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.  

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. was arraigned in Albemarle General District Court on Wednesday. Jones, who appeared via video, was assigned a public defender and given a Dec. 8 hearing date.

He faces three counts of second-degree murder, five counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony and two counts of malicious bodily injury — one for each of the surviving victims. One of the survivors has been released from the hospital, according to a UVA Health spokesperson. 

UVA football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D'Sean Perry all were killed Sunday, according to University of Virginia President Jim Ryan. Jones is accused of opening fire on a charter bus carrying 22 students returning to Charlottesville from a class field trip to Washington D.C. 

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley said during the Wednesday hearing that Jones had previously been convicted of reckless driving, and hit-and-run in 2021. In a separate incident that same year, he was charged with a concealed-weapon violation. Those sentences all were suspended. 

Hingeley also offered new details about the evening of the shooting. A witness at the scene told detectives that Jones aimed a gun at the first victim, who was asleep, and shot him. The witness added that Jones was targeting passengers and was not “shooting randomly.” 

Jones is a third-year UVA student and former walk-on football player, who played running back. 

UVA Police Chief Tim Longo was addressing media Monday morning when he was alerted that Jones was in custody after a 12-hour search. Jones, who is originally from Petersburg, was arrested in Henrico County. 

Tony Elliott, UVA football’s head coach, spoke during a press conference Tuesday about how he and his players are dealing with the tragedy.  

“Once we were given the clear to communicate, we immediately got the team together and started the process of grieving together — trying to make sure no one was isolated, and everyone was together,” Elliott said. “We pooled all the resources we could from a counseling standpoint to give these guys the support they need. The first meeting was really tough. Really, really tough.” 

Colleges and universities across the state responded to the shooting with support.  

“Football is something that is important to all of us. It creates a brotherhood. We are family and when one of us is hurting, we all hurt,” said Virginia Tech head football coach Brent Pry during a Tuesday press conference. “UVA was here for us [after the mass shooting] in 2007, and we are here for them now.”  

Pry added: “It’s bigger than football.” 

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect changes in the charges that Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. faces.