A manhunt at and around the University of Virginia is underway for a student at the university who law enforcement officials suspect killed three people and injured two others on Sunday in a deadly shooting on the campus.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., described by law enforcement as a black man last seen wearing a burgundy jacket or hoodie, blue jeans, and red shoes, is a former football player at the university, joining the team in 2018, but he never played in a game, according to the UVA athletic site. It is unclear why he is no longer on the team.
UVA President Jim Ryan confirmed Jones was a current student at the university in a statement released Monday morning. The school has been on lockdown since the shooting Sunday night, with students ordered to shelter in place.
“As of writing this, I am heartbroken to report the shooting has resulted in three fatalities; two additional victims were injured and are receiving medical care,” Ryan said. “Our University Police Department has joined forces with other law enforcement agencies to apprehend the suspect, and we will keep our community apprised for developments as the situation evolves.”
Jones grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and attended Varina High School for three years before transferring to Petersburg High School. Jones played football throughout his high school years as a running back and linebacker. Jones’s parents divorced when he was 5, and he only reconnected with his father as a teenager, Fox News reported, citing a 2018 report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“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.
Jones’s relatives said he did well in school academically, but he was suspended multiple times in high school due to fights. However, he was encouraged to curb his anger, and no suspensions or behavioral problems have been reported by UVA.
He was also named “student of the year” in his freshman and sophomore years at Varina High School, according to the UVA sports site, and he was part of the National Honor Society.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are aiding in the search for Jones, and the UVA Police Department and UVA Emergency Management told students to expect increased law enforcement presence on the campus as a complete search on and around the university grounds is underway.
The names of the victims have not been released so far, but the two injured are receiving medical care, according to Ryan. No details on whether the victims were students or staff members have been released.