UVA Shooting: New Details Emerge in Deaths of 3 Football Players

by Suzanne Halliburton
Win McNamee/Getty Images

New details released Wednesday in the UVA shooting suggested that the student who is accused of killing three football players targeted one victim while he slept on the bus as they all returned from a field trip.

The UVA shooting rocked the college football world as so many want to know why an ex-player allegedly would want to kill athletes he likely didn’t know. Prosecutors said Wednesday that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., shot Devin Chandler as he napped on the chartered bus returning from Washington D.C. They’d all gone to D.C. Sunday to watch a play about Emmett Till, then eat dinner together before returning back to Charlottesville, Va. The other victims were Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.

Jones, in his first court appearance Wednesday, didn’t enter a plea. A temporary, court-appointed attorney represented Jones. Police arrested him Monday morning. A judge also denied Jones bail. His next court appearance is next month.

Although he was a 22-year-old college student. Jones had been in legal trouble several times. He received suspended sentences for charges of reckless driving, hit and run and carrying a concealed weapon.

Jones faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun while committing a felony. Jones also faces two counts of malicious wounding of the two other students.

Although the shooter and the three victims played football for the school, it’s not clear they even knew each other. In fact, Jones wasn’t even a member of the theater class on the field trip. Rather, the professor invited him because he was in one of her other classes.

Three UVA Football Players Died in Shooting. They Likely Didn’t Know Their Alleged Killer, a Former Cavalier

Jones was a walk-on running back in 2018. He only played football that season and didn’t see action in any game. The three Virginia football players who were killed were all juniors. They weren’t on campus when Jones was on the UVA roster.

Davis played receiver, joining the team in 2020. He was one of the top, big-play wideouts in the country, averaging 25 yards per catch. Chandler transferred from Wisconsin to Virginia in 2021. Like Davis, he, too, played receiver. Perry was a fierce linebacker. He appeared in six games this season and had been on track to see the first significant time of his career.

Witnesses started offering details in regards to these Virginia football killings. No shots were fired until the chartered bus pulled up to the theater building late Sunday. There were five football players on the bus. Three died and one was injured. The fifth was unharmed. All five were involved with the Cavaliers football game the day before. But they showed up for the 11:30 a.m,. departure, Sunday.

On the way back to Charlottesville, the players and their friends sat towards the front of the bus, while Jones was in the back.

The Virginia athletic department announced Wednesday that it had canceled the final home football game of the season to allow the team to mourn these tragic killings. The Cavaliers were set to play Coastal Carolina this Saturday. They also have a road game against Virginia Tech scheduled for Nov. 26.