The University of Virginia’s police chief announced on Monday that the suspect in a shooting that killed three members of the school’s football team is in custody, ending an hours-long manhunt that triggered a campus-wide lockdown.
At a press conference in Charlottesville, Va., UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo had just given a description of the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones, a 22-year-old student and former football player, and of the vehicle Jones was believed to have been driving. Longo was then informed that Jones had been taken into custody.
“We’ve just received information that the suspect is in custody,” Longo said before a long pause. “I just need a moment to thank God.”
Earlier in the press conference, UVA president Jim Ryan identified the victims as Devin Chandler, D'Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr., all current members of the football team.
“We will do everything we can to honor their lives,” Ryan said. “This is an extraordinarily difficult day for our community.”
The shooting unfolded around 10:30 p.m. local time Sunday on a charter bus that had just returned to campus from a field trip. Two others were injured.
The school initiated an emergency alert triggering a shelter-in-place order for nearly 25,000 people on the sprawling campus.
The shelter-in-place order was lifted shortly before the press conference. Longo said that after a thorough search, authorities were “reasonably confident” Jones was not on campus and had fled the area.
A motive for the shooting is unclear. Jones had been flagged in September by the school’s threat assessment team after making a comment to a third party about possessing a gun, Longo said.
The school investigated but found no evidence Jones had a gun on campus, Longo said.
Jones is being held on three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, Longo said.