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UVA Cancels Football Game; Shooting Suspect Due In Court

A University of Virginia student accused of killing three football players Sunday on the school's campus is due to appear in court Wednesday.
Memorial flowers and notes line walkway at Scott Stadium after three football players were killed in a shooting.
Posted at 10:46 AM, Nov 16, 2022

The University of Virginia canceled its final home football game of the season Wednesday, the same day a student accused of killing three members of the team and wounding two other students in an on-campus shooting was due in court for his first hearing.

University officials and police have said Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, joined a group of about two dozen others on a field trip Sunday from the Charlottesville campus to see a play in the nation's capital, about 120 miles away. When their bus arrived back on campus, authorities have said the suspect opened fire, killing Lavel Davis Jr., D'Sean Perry and Devin Chandler, and wounding two others, one of them also a football player.

The suspect — who police have said was able to flee the shooting scene, setting off a manhunt and 12-hour campus lockdown — faces three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding and additional gun-related charges.

The violence at the state's flagship public university has set off days of mourning among students and faculty, the broader Charlottesville community and other supporters. Classes resumed Wednesday, though the school announced it was canceling what would have been UVA's final home football game of the 2022 season against Coastal Carolina.

No decision has been made yet about whether UVA will participate in its final game of the season on Nov. 26 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

On Wednesday, the suspect was expected to appear by video link from a local jail, according to the prosecutor handling the case, Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney James Hingeley.

Online records do not list an attorney for the suspect. If he is financially eligible for court-appointed counsel, an attorney will be appointed Wednesday, Hingeley wrote in an email, adding there also could be a preliminary bail review at the hearing.

The suspect has been in custody since he was arrested in suburban Richmond late Monday morning.

University President Jim Ryan said Monday that authorities did not have a "full understanding" of the motive behind the shooting. Court documents filed so far in the matter have offered no additional insight.

The suspect was a member of the football team during the 2018 season, a one-semester walk-on, according to athletics director Carla Williams.

In interviews, his father has expressed confusion and astonishment and apologized to the victims' families.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.