University of Virginia student eyewitnessOn a bus returning from a field trip, the gunman described to police how he targeted a number of victims – several – He shot one of them while he was sleeping, a prosecutor told a court Wednesday. The details came out when the suspect appeared in the court for the first time.
Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingele said a witness who showed him a photo of the shooting suspect identified Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. as the gunman. Three football players were killed and one player and a student were injured in the violence that broke out on Sunday night.
The suspected ex-footballer appeared in court on Wednesday via video link from a local jail. He has not entered pleas to several of the charges against him and said he plans to hire an attorney. A judge ordered him held without bond and appointed a public defender until he gets a private attorney.
University officials and police said the 22-year-old suspect joined about two dozen people on a field trip Sunday from the Charlottesville campus to watch the game in the nation’s capital, about 120 miles away. As their bus returned to campus, officials say the suspect opened fire, killing Lavelle Davis Jr.and Devin Chandler.
A witness told police the suspect pointed the gun at Chandler, shot him as he lay, and Chandler slid to the floor, Hingele said.
The witness said the suspect was “targeting specific people, not shooting randomly,” Hingele said.
Responding officers found Chandler and Perry dead on the bus, Hingele said. Davis died of his injuries at the hospital.
The public defender appointed to represent the suspect did not comment on the substance of the charges Wednesday. She also declined to comment outside of court.
The judge set a December status hearing on the case.
Authorities said the suspect fled the scene of the shooting, ending a manhunt and a 12-hour campus lockdown, before being captured elsewhere in the state early Monday. The suspect faces three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding and an additional gun-related charge.
The violence at the state’s flagship public university set off days of mourning among students and faculty, the broader Charlottesville community and other supporters. Classes resume Wednesday.
University President Jim Ryan said Monday that officials do not have a “full understanding” of what led to the shooting. Court documents filed so far in the case have not provided any further insight, and Hingley did not comment on a possible motive Wednesday.
“It’s possible and we may never find something that explains this,” Ryan said in a video statement posted on Facebook late Wednesday night. “Maybe we don’t really understand why this happened,” he said.
Ryan said the school is “inviting an external review of the university’s relationship with the suspect and whether we did everything we could to prevent or eliminate this incident.”
Also on Wednesday, the schoolHe was canceling Saturday’s final game of the season against Coastal Carolina. Ryan said Wednesday night that a memorial service will be held Saturday for the two students who were killed and wounded in the shooting of the football players.
Announcing the cancellation, the university He said in a news release No decision has yet been made on whether UVA will participate in its final game against Virginia Tech on Nov. 26 in Blacksburg.
The suspect was a member of the football team during the 2018 season, a one-semester walk-on, athletic director Carla Williams said.
In an interview, the father expressed his confusion and surprise and apologized to the victims’ families.
One of the two students who were hospitalized was released from the medical center Tuesday, health system spokesman Eric Swenson said.
The family of Mike Hollins, a running back on the team, said he underwent a second surgery on Tuesday.
Hollins’ mother, Brenda Hollins, in her first television interview since the shootingHer son still doesn’t know that three of his friends and teammates have been killed.
In court on Wednesday, Hingley reviewed the suspect’s past criminal record. In the year
At the time of his arrest, the suspect had two outstanding warrants out of Petersburg for reckless driving and a hit-and-run accident on property. He was convicted on both counts and given a 12-month suspended sentence on both, Hingele said.
The university said the suspect’s failure to report the concealed weapons felony charge was pending an ongoing assessment by the threat assessment team. The university initially said the Office of Student Affairs escalated the suspect’s case to the university’s Judiciary Committee in late October for student-led disciplinary action. But on Tuesday night, a spokeswoman confirmed the university had not expanded the report and was working to do so.