The saga surrounding the accused University of Virginia shooter Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. has deepened as his father has spoken out. He revealed what might have been going through his son’s mind before he opened fire on his fellow students, killing three and wounding two others.
“I can’t believe it was him. I still can’t believe it now,” Christopher Darnell Jones Sr. said to NBC affiliate WBBT in Richmond, Virginia. “He came to the house and he did his laundry, we sat and talked, and he seemed like he was doing really well.”
Jones Sr. revealed that he hadn’t talked to his son in a month and that news of the fatal shooting shocked him and Jones Jr.’s mother. He added that his son did mention that people were “picking on him,” but didn’t go into details.
“When we finally had a chance to talk, he said there were some people there who were giving him a hard time, but he still was upbeat, and he was positive. I don’t know what happened between then and now to cause this to happen,” he continued.
“He had some problems the last time I talked to him. He said some people were picking on him or whatever, he didn’t know how to handle it. I just told him, ‘Go to school, don’t pay them no mind.’ He was really paranoid when I talked to him about something, but he wouldn’t tell me everything. He was a very sensitive young man.”
Jones’ parents divorced at five years old, and his father’s departure was “one of the most traumatic things that happened to me in my life,” Jones Jr. said to the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2018.
“Me and his mother separated when he was five,” said Jones Sr. “I was out of his life for 11 years.”
— Daitron Winston Sr. (@ThatsDaitronSr) November 15, 2022
He eventually moved in with his grandmother, Mary Jones, in Petersburg, Virginia, for high school when he turned sixteen.
“What happened? Why did it have to get this far? He could’ve called me,” Jones Sr. continued. “I don’t know why he didn’t call me Saturday. If he had called me Saturday, I think maybe I could have talked him out of some things, maybe, hopefully.”
Jones Jr. played linebacker and running back in high school and was listed on the University of Virginia football roster in 2018, although he never played a game.
“He got on the football team at Petersburg High School he excelled at that,” his father continued. “He excelled at everything. He was everyone’s friend, everybody loved Chris, and he had a movie star smile he would flash.”
With all of this tragedy consuming the news cycle, the University of Virginia football program is also in deep mourning and the administration faces a decision about whether to play a home game against Coastal Carolina this Saturday.
Sports Center host Sage Steele spoke with reporter Mark Schlabach, who was live on site in Charlottesville and in contact with school officials, about the administration determining if they should play the game and when a decision can be announced.
“I talked to the university athletics spokesperson this morning and he said there were some high-level meetings scheduled for today to discuss whether or not to play the game. We know Virginia head coach Tony Elliot and athletics director Carla Williams are scheduled to address the media at 330 this afternoon.”
Schlabach has also been in contact with the coaches at Coastal Carolina and they haven’t heard anything concerning Saturday’s game. Schlabach says that Virginia ends the season with a game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Nov. 26.
The football team is 1-7 in the ACC conference, 3-7 overall and won’t be Bowl eligible with that kind of record, so there’s not much to play for anyway.
“Given what’s transpired over the last 36 hours,” he continued,” I don’t think anybody would be surprised if both those games were cancelled.”
Details Of Shooting Still Developing: Two Victims Of Bullet Wounds Survived
Jones Sr. and Margo Ellis, the accused’s mother, have not spoken to their son face-to-face since the shooting, and he wants to get clear on the circumstances that led to the tragedy. He reportedly apologized on his son’s behalf as classes are suspended again in mourning for the victims.
“My heart goes out to their families. I don’t know what to say, except I’m sorry, on his behalf, and I apologize.”
Jones Jr. now faces a litany of charges, including three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, per University of Virginia Police Chief Tim Longo.