Three football players at the University of Virginia are dead, and police have taken former Cavaliers football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. into custody in connection with the alleged slayings.
Jones is accused of shooting and killing three members of the UVA football team — Devin Chandler, Lavel “Tyler” Davis and D’Sean Perry — and injuring two others on a bus on the way back from a field trip to Washington D.C.
Jones’ bio at UVA indicates he was on the team in 2018, but did not appear in any games. A school official said he had not been a member of the team for “over a year.”
He played for three years at Varina High School, and played running back and linebacker in his senior season at Petersburg High School, about a half-hour south of Richmond.
In 2018, the Richmond Times-Dispatch detailed’ Jones unprivileged upbringing, living in housing complexes such as Essex Village. A local legislator castigated Essex Village to the Richmond Free Press in 2017 as having had “unsafe and unsanitary conditions for far too long” prior to its sale.
In the Times-Dispatch story, Jones said that his parents divorced when he was five, and he did not see his father again until he was a teen.
“My dad and me were really close. It just hurt me when he had to leave,” Jones said. “That was one of the most traumatic things that happened to me in my life. I didn’t understand why he left. When I went to school, people didn’t understand me.”
Jones said that his mother worked nights, which meant he often had the responsibility of feeding his three younger siblings. He went to live with his grandmother for his senior year, which is why he switched schools to Petersburg.
While he got in a number of fights, he excelled on the football field and in the classroom, and football coaches became his “mentors.”
“He always had strong goals. He was ambitious, but his anger simply got in the way,” one of his mentors, Xavier Richardson, said in the 2018 story.
“I would get upset because my intelligence was being insulted. Kids would pick on me — ‘Why did you do that? Why did you answer that question?’ ” Jones said. “And in that world, disrespect means you should fight.”
Jones’ mother, Margo, briefly spoke to the Washington Post on Monday before hanging up the phone.
“I can tell you now that Chris was a good kid,” she told the outlet.
On Monday, UVA’s chief of police, Tim Longo, told reporters that Jones had been on their radar since September due to a prior incident.
“Because I want to be transparent with you, I want you to know [that] … Mr. Jones came to the attention of the University of Virginia’s threat assessment team in the fall of 2022,” said Longo. “They received information that Mr. Jones had made a comment about possessing a gun to a person that was unaffiliated with the university.”
The comment was reportedly not made as a threat, and Jones’ roommates told investigators they’d never seen him with a weapon.
The three victims were current members of the football team. Davis Jr. was a junior wideout from Dorchester, Va. He had 16 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns this season. Chandler, a junior wideout from Hunterville, Nc., had transferred from Wisconsin. Perry, a junior linebacker from Miami, had seven total tackles this season.
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