As further details and the newly released mugshot emerges of Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., the 22-year-old suspect accused of killing three University of Virginia football players and wounded two others, many can’t help but to wonder if there were warning signs prior to the shootings that could have prevented such a tragedy.
The Narrative Matters dug deeper into the background of just who Christopher Darnell Jones Jr is. Jones, a former UVA football player, faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony in connection to the campus shooting. The incident occurred Sunday night after a chartered bus filled with students were returning from a class field trip attending a stage play in Washington, D.C.
Shortly after the charter bus arrived on UVA’s campus, a hail of gunshots were heard throughout the campus, according to multiple students. Following a 12-hour manhunt and an intense building-to-building search on campus grounds, Jones was apprehended off campus according to the Henrico County Police.
The three deceased victims have been identified as Devin Chandler, a second-year from Virginia Beach, Virginia; Lavel Davis, a third-year student from Ridgeville, South Carolina; and D’ Sean Perry, a fourth-year student from Miami, Florida. All three were members of the UVA football team.
Jones, who was reportedly once a linebacker, transferred from the University of Wisconsin to the University of Virginia where he was listed as a freshman running back on the team’s 2018 roster. The roster also displayed that he played his first three years at Varina High School and his last year at Petersburg High School in Virginia.
Jones’ father, Chris Jones Sr. spoke to CBS 6 in Petersburg expressing his grief and sorrow that he feels towards the family of the victims. The father of the accused was visibly distraught as he apologized for the horrific actions of his son.
“My hearts go out to their families. I don’t know what to say except that I’m sorry on his behalf and I apologize,” Jones Sr. said.
Sr., who hadn’t seen his son in close to a month when he came home to do laundry, received a shocking phone call early Monday morning from the police informing him of the incident.
“I couldn’t believe that was my son.”
Sr. says that during a conversation with son when he last saw him, the-22-year-old mentioned that he was being picked on at school.
“He was really paranoid when I talked to him, he wouldn’t tell me everything. He said that some people were picking on him and he didn’t know how to handle it. I just told him to go to school, don’t pay them no mind, and do what you have to do because you only have one more year,” Sr. said.
This all comes as shocking news to his father due to the younger Jones winning an award for his scholastic achievement, making the National Honors Society and getting accepted at the University of Virginia.
But a Richmond Times dispatch news article during the time Jones was in high school, painted a different picture. A picture of someone for years got into fights at school, faced multiple suspensions and had a tough time accepting the fact his dad had left the family.
“See me and his mother were separated when he was five and I was out of his life for 11 years,” Sr. explained. Now his dad, like others, is looking for answers.
“What happened? What happened? How did it get this far? He could have called me.”
Among the students on the bus on Sunday night, a pre-med student who happened to be close friends with one of the victims witnessed the entire ordeal. In an interview with CBS 3 Eyewitness News, 19-year-old Ryan Lynch shared that she initially thought that Jones was going to shoot everyone on the bus after returning from what she referred to as a “bonding experience.” Lynch says on Sunday evening about 25 of her classmates and a professor were returning from D.C. when Jones pulled out a gun as they were arriving back on campus.
“Chris got up and pushed Lavel, and then after he pushed him he was like ‘You guys are always messing with me.’ He said something weird like that and it was very bazaar because they didn’t talk to him the whole trip,” Lynch said. “And it just kept coming, more and more gunshots. He just had so many gunshots in him,” Lynch said sobbing while recalling the brutal murder of her friend Lavel Davis Jr.
Lynch reflected on the greatness of her three schoolmates who were killed.
“All the men had such a beautiful spirit. They always had a smile on their face. They never showed any level of exhaustion, so personable and kind.”