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UVA delays release of campus shooting findings

UVA President James Edward Ryan
Shaban Athuman
/
VPM News File
James Ryan, president of the University of Virginia, looks on as the stadium takes a moment of silence in honor of slain football players on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Nov. 13, 2022, a shooter, who was identified as a teammate, opened fire while on a charter bus returning to Charlottesville from Washington, D.C., leaving Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry dead. Two others were injured in the shooting.

The university cited concerns over how the report could impact the suspect's pending trial.

University of Virginia officials said Friday they were further delaying the release of an investigation into the events surrounding a 2022 campus shooting that killed three student-athletes and wounded two other students.

Citing concern about the impact the findings could have on the suspect's pending trial, UVA said in a news release that it would not make a “redacted” version of the final report public until “after the criminal proceedings.”

“Making the report public at this time, or even releasing a summary of their findings and recommendations, could have an impact on the criminal trial of the accused, either by disrupting the case being prepared by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, or by interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury,” UVA President Jim Ryan said in a statement.

Ryan said the university had consulted with Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley in reaching the decision.

Hingeley said in a statement released by the school that he had not seen the report but was appreciative of "the University’s efforts to avoid taking any action that could complicate the prosecution of the accused, Christopher Jones, or impair his right to a fair and impartial trial.”

UVA announced about a month ago that the investigation was done and that it would be discussed with UVA’s Board of Visitors and those most affected by the shooting before being released publicly, possibly by early November.

Jones was a UVA student and former member of the school’s football team when authorities say he fatally shot three members of the team as they returned by charter bus to campus from a November 2022 field trip to see a play in Washington. Two other students were injured, one of them also a football player.

The violence that erupted near a parking garage set off a 12-hour campus lockdown until the suspect was captured.

Jones is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated malicious wounding and firearms-related counts, according to court records, which show his next court hearing is in February.

Within days of the shooting, university leaders asked for an outside review to investigate UVA’s safety policies and procedures, its response to the violence and its prior efforts to assess Jones as a potential threat. School officials acknowledged he previously was on the radar of the university’s threat-assessment team.

Attorney General Jason Miyares granted the request for the probe, appointing outside counsel to conduct a review.

Miyares' office has also declined to release the report.

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