Former University of Virginia, football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was arrested on Monday, Nov. 14 after being accused of shooting five people, three mortally wounded on Sunday night. The three murder victims were all juniors and football players: wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr., wide receiver Devin Chandler and linebacker D’Sean Perry, the university reported. The shooting reportedly occurred when Jones opened fire on a charter bus carrying students back from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. for a class. Jones allegedly carried a gun on the bus and opened fire when the bus returned to the Charlottesville, Virginia, campus.
The 22-year-old was the target of a police search that shut down the UVA campus for almost 12 hours. Before Jones’s arrest, the university was under a shelter-in-place order, where anyone on the UVA campus was asked to shelter in place because of an active shooter.
“I can tell you now that Chris was a good kid,” Jones’ mother, Margo, said to The Washington Post.
The UVA players were all promising athletes.
Wide receiver Lavel Davis had 16 receptions for 371 yards and two touchdowns in eight games this season, with a breakout freshman season in 2020, with 20 catches for 515 yards and five touchdowns. Davis missed all of 2021, after suffering a knee injury. Linebacker D’Sean Perry appeared in seven games this season and had seven total tackles, including two in Saturday, Nov. 12 loss to Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh. Wide receiver Chandler, a transfer from Wisconsin, had not appeared in a game for UVA.
The accused shooter Jones was on Virginia’s football roster in 2018, listed as a 5-foot-9, 195-pound freshman running back. However, according to the school’s athletic department website, he never played in a game. However, Jones is listed in UVA’s student directory as an undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences.
He played linebacker and running back in high school in Petersburg, Virginia, where he survived a rough upbringing in the small city just outside Richmond’s capital. Jones reportedly grew up in Richmond public housing complexes. In high school, as a senior, he earned honorable mention all-conference honors, belonged to the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society, and served as president of both the Key Club and Jobs for Virginia Graduates program.
RIP to these 3 UVA Football students; who were tragically murdered last night & later found dead in a van. Suspect Christopher Darnell Jones was arrested late this morning. (photo in post below) Prayers for their families & loved ones. No one should have to endure this pain. pic.twitter.com/Dxin5XfSf1
— joanie (@FreeSpeechRED) November 14, 2022
“When I went to school, people didn’t understand me,” said an 18-year-old Jones to The Richmond Times-Dispatch about being bullied for being smart. “I would get upset because my intelligence was being insulted. Kids would pick on me — ‘Why did you do that? Why did you answer that question?’ and in that world, disrespect means you should fight.”
Due to his mother’s work schedule, Jones was sometimes responsible for feeding his three siblings. At five years old, his parents divorced, and his father’s departure was “one of the most traumatic things that happened to me in my life,” Jones continued. He eventually moved in with his grandmother, Mary Jones, in Petersburg in 2016.
“He always had strong goals. He was ambitious, but his anger simply got in the way,” said one of his mentors, Xavier Richardson, to the Times-Dispatch. “I try to help him understand that he has been able to succeed despite his obstacles, and he can thrive from them.”
Now Jones’ alleged unfortunate events have set his life on a treacherous trajectory and forever changed the lives of five people, three irreparably.