Motive still unclear as U.Va. shooting suspect heads to court

The University of Virginia student charged with shooting and killing three university football players on a bus after a field trip is due in a Charlottesville courtroom Thursday morning.

Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding, and other gun-related charges, in the deaths of Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler.

Jones has been held without bond since being arrested Nov. 14, after a 12-hour search.

In his initial hearing on Nov. 16, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley gave a brief accounting of what police say happened, after officers responded to a report of shots fired near a parking garage.

Authorities say Jones, also a former member of the school’s football team, was returning from a field trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. last month with fellow students when he opened fire on the bus as it stopped in a campus parking garage.

One witness told police the suspect pointed the gun at Chandler, shot him as he was sleeping and watched as he slid to the floor, Hingeley said.

The witness said Jones was “aiming at certain people” and not shooting randomly, according to Hingeley.

Prosecutors have not yet suggested possible motives in the shooting. Jones told the judge he was intending to hire a private attorney.

Virginia State Police have said a search warrant for Jones’ on-campus dorm room resulted in the recovery of a rifle and handgun.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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