University of Virginia shooting suspect bought two guns after failing background check last year

A former student athlete accused of fatally shooting three University of Virginia football players was able to legally buy two guns after failing a background check last year and trying to get a handgun while underage four years ago, according to the gun shop that sold him the firearms.

Christopher Darnell Jones bought a Ruger AR-556 rifle in February and a Glock 45 9 mm with an additional magazine in July from Dance’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights, Va., store owner Marlon Dance told CNN, noting that there was “nothing noteworthy” about the sales.

Jones tried to buy weapons in the store twice before, the shop detailed in a statement. On July 8, 2021, he wanted to get Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 — a .22-caliber rifle — but failed a background check due to a pending criminal charge, the store said. The felony charge was later “reduced to a misdemeanor by the court in October 2021, thereby removing the prohibition against future purchases,” police said.

The former football player was also turned away in 2018, when he tried to buy a handgun despite being under the age of 21.

“Jones DID NOT receive either of the firearms he attempted to purchase, and both attempted purchases were forwarded to the Virginia State Police for further action,” Dance’s Sporting Goods said.

Jones is accused of opening fire on a bus of students returning to campus from a field trip to Washington, D.C., on Sunday night. Three football players, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis and D’Sean Perry, were killed and another two people were wounded in the bloody attack.

He was busted 12 hours after the crime and denied bond during an initial court appearance this week.