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University of Virginia shooting: Ex-football player suspect in custody, victims ID'd as former teammates

FOX News logo FOX News 11/14/2022 Danielle Wallace, Jake Gibson, Elizabeth Pritchett

Police confirmed University of Virginia student shooting suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. is in custody. 

Interrupted during an 11 a.m. press conference Monday, UVA Police Chief Timothy J. Longo thanked a captain for notifying him that Jones had been taken into custody somewhere off-campus. 

"I just need a moment to thank God and breathe a sigh of relief," Longo said, after bowing his head in a brief pause.

UVA President Jim Ryan had already identified the three deceased victims earlier in the event. 

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA MANHUNT: WHO IS EX-FOOTBALL PLAYER SHOOTING SUSPECT CHRISTOPHER DARNELL JONES, JR? 

They are UVA linebacker D'Sean Perry and UVA wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler. 

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A source tells Fox News Digital that the other two hospitalized are also UVA football players. 

UVA football player D'Sean Perry. Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site © Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site UVA football player D'Sean Perry. Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site

An arrest warrant had been secured for Jones for three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in commission of a felony. The charges might be amended in the future, Longo said. 

The shooting unfolded at about 10:30 p.m. at an on-campus parking garage. Gunfire erupted on a charter bus while students were returning from a class field trip to see a play, according to UVA officials. 

UVA football player Lavel Davis Jr. Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site © Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site UVA football player Lavel Davis Jr. Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site

"Someone amongst them chose to do an act of violence," Longo said of the charter bus shooting scene. 

Up until about 10:30 a.m. Monday, more than 500 students had remained sheltered in place inside buildings throughout grounds, studying in libraries, classrooms and other places, Longo said. 

UVA football player Devin Chandler. Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site © Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site UVA football player Devin Chandler. Credit: Virginia Cavaliers Official Athletic Site

Before the shooting, Jones had been the subject to a prior hazing investigation, Longo said. He also was facing administration disciplinary action for allegedly failing to report a February 2021 criminal incident involving a concealed weapon violation that happened outside of Charlottesville to UVA officials as required by students. 

Jones, a former UVA football player, had not been on the team for over a year. 

University of Virginia Chief of Police Timothy Longo, Sr. provides an update. Leigh Green for Fox News Digital © Leigh Green for Fox News Digital University of Virginia Chief of Police Timothy Longo, Sr. provides an update. Leigh Green for Fox News Digital

Classes and all extracurricular activities were canceled Monday. As of 10:33 a.m., the shelter in place order had been lifted for campus following an extensive search of the grounds, but a large police presence remained. 

It was not clear where Jones was taken into custody, but Longo said it was off campus grounds. 

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan speaks at a press conference following an on-campus shooting and subsequent manhunt. Leigh Green for Fox News Digital © Leigh Green for Fox News Digital University of Virginia President Jim Ryan speaks at a press conference following an on-campus shooting and subsequent manhunt. Leigh Green for Fox News Digital

Fox News confirmed that the FBI arrived at the scene on Monday morning. The search was spearheaded by local law enforcement and involved multiple other agencies including a Virginia State Police helicopter. 

In a message to the community earlier Monday, Ryan wrote to provide an update on the multiple public safety alerts sent out following the 10:30 p.m. Sunday shooting that killed three and injured two others. 

University of Virginia shooting scene general views. Leigh Green for Fox News Digital © Leigh Green for Fox News Digital University of Virginia shooting scene general views. Leigh Green for Fox News Digital

Ryan, in confirming that Jones is a UVA student, said the suspect remained at large and was considered armed and dangerous. Jones was described by police as a Black male last seen wearing a burgundy jacket or hoodie, blue jeans and red shoes. He was thought to have been driving a Black SUV with the Virginia tag TWX3580.

"Multiple law enforcement agencies are coordinating to find and apprehend him," Ryan said. "As of writing, I am heartbroken to report the shooting has resulted in three fatalities; two additional victims were injured and are receiving medical care. We are working with the families of the victims, and we will share additional details as soon as we are able."

UVA police seen on campus as law enforcement search for shooting suspect Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr. Credit: Fox News © Credit: Fox News UVA police seen on campus as law enforcement search for shooting suspect Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr. Credit: Fox News

"This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia," Ryan added. "I am holding the victims, their families, and all members of the University of Virginia community in my heart today, and we will make plans to come together as a community to grieve as soon as the suspect is apprehended."

The shooting was initially reported around 10:30 p.m. Sunday when shots were fired in the Culbreth parking garage. 

Shortly after, a campus-wide alert was issued announcing the suspect was at large and telling all people at UVA to shelter in place. University police said they were looking for Jones in connection with the shooting. 

VIRGINIA MAN ARRESTED FOR SHOOTING THAT LEFT EIGHT PEOPLE WOUNDED NEAR JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

Anyone who spotted Jones was asked to call 911 immediately and not approach him.

A UVA alert issued before 7:30 a.m. Monday said the law enforcement search on and around school grounds continues. "Remain sheltered in place," the alert read. "Expect increased law enforcement presence." 

A Charlottesville Police vehicle is parked on Culbreath Road during an active shooter situation on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Mike Kropf /The Daily Progress via AP © Mike Kropf /The Daily Progress via AP A Charlottesville Police vehicle is parked on Culbreath Road during an active shooter situation on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Mike Kropf /The Daily Progress via AP

Vice President and Dean of Students Robyn S. Hadley said Monday that she was on grounds "like many of you."

"I am sheltering in place and in direct touch with University leadership and UPD," the message said. "Please, please take the shelter in place commands seriously as the situation remains active. The suspect is armed and dangerous. If you are not inside and safe, immediately seek safety." 

A police officer walks up Culbreath Road during an active shooter situation on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Mike Kropf /The Daily Progress via AP © Mike Kropf /The Daily Progress via AP A police officer walks up Culbreath Road during an active shooter situation on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. Mike Kropf /The Daily Progress via AP

As of 1 a.m., UVA police said to continue sheltering in place and to contact friends and family to let them know "your status."

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA OFF-CAMPUS MASS SHOOTING LEAVES 7, INCLUDING COLLEGE STUDENTS, WOUNDED

Fox News Digital reached out to University of Virginia police, but have not yet heard back.

This is a developing story.

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