Virginia AG Miyares announces review of U.Va. shooting response

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has launched an external review of events leading up to the shooting deaths of three University of Virginia students on campus last weekend.

The Office of the Virginia Attorney General said Thursday that a special counsel would be appointed to head an independent review of the university’s response to the shooting, which claimed the lives of three students and injured two others Sunday on a bus returning from a field trip.

“A public report will be shared with students, families, the larger U.Va. community and government officials at the appropriate time,” Miyares spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita said in a statement. “The attorney general will work with deliberate speed while ensuring that all necessary resources remain devoted to the criminal investigation being conducted by state and local authorities.”

The inquiry followed new details suggesting the suspected gunman, university student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had targeted specific victims — many of whom were U.Va. football players. The details emerged during the Jones’ first court appearance, the same day students returned to classes and the university announced it was canceling its Saturday football game.

In February 2021, Jones was charged in Chesterfield County with possession of a concealed handgun without a permit and later given a 12-month suspended sentence. The university has said Jones’ failure to report the misdemeanor concealed weapon conviction was a consideration in an ongoing review of Jones by its threat-assessment team.

In a letter dated Nov. 17, U.Va. leadership requested Miyares appoint outside counsel for an independent review of the the university’s immediate response to the shooting, and its threat assessment of Jones in the period before Sunday.

“As that investigation proceeds, there are many valid questions about the shooting that have yet to be answered and are unlikely to be answered in the course of criminal proceedings,” read the letter, co-signed by university president James E. Ryan and rector Whittington W. Clement. “We request that the special counsel review all relevant University policies and procedures and make recommendations if opportunities for improvement or needs for change are identified.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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