Signs in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday honor the victims of a University of Virginia campus shooting the night before. Football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were killed and two others were wounded. Justin Ide/For The Washington Post

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The University of Virginia on Tuesday said it had failed last month to report the suspected gunman in this week’s deadly shooting to a student-run judiciary committee after learning he had not disclosed a previous gun conviction.

Brian Coy, a U-Va. spokesman, had previously said the referral was made to the committee in late October, weeks before authorities allege 22-year-old Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. opened fire on a bus returning to campus from a field trip in Washington on Sunday night. He revised crucial details in that account Tuesday, blaming the oversight on an inadvertent mix-up.

Coy said university officials ultimately made the referral Tuesday over Jones’s not disclosing that he had a previous conviction for illegally possessing a concealed handgun. Coy also said the university had emailed Jones on Oct. 26 to warn him that he faced the imminent possibility of disciplinary action and to urge him to talk with U-Va. officials.

The new disclosure came as investigators continued to search for answers in the shooting and Jones’s criminal record came into sharper focus.

Football players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were killed and two others were wounded in the shooting. One of the wounded had surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach and was recovering in the hospital; UVA Medical Center said the other was slated to be discharged.

The shooting rocked the campus, forcing students to shelter in place while authorities searched for the gunman. On Tuesday, the mood was somber.


Buses flashed the names of victims between their routes. Students placed hundreds of flowers along the north entrance to Scott Stadium, where the three slain teammates once played. They wrote notes, dropped off teddy bears and shed tears outside the stadium. Gov. Glenn Youngkin was among the mourners, stopping by the venue to drop off bouquets of flowers and bow his head in prayer.

Classes will resume Wednesday, but students will not be required to complete graded assignments or take exams before Thanksgiving break, the university said.

As in other mass shootings, investigators and witnesses struggled Tuesday to understand what could have motivated the violence. Ryan Lynch, a student who was on the bus when the shooting occurred, said Jones did not know many of the other students on the field trip to see a play about Emmett Till in D.C. and did not interact with them much.

She said others on the bus told her they heard Jones yell something before opening fire: “Something to the effect of, ‘You guys are always messing with me.'”

“But that doesn’t make sense, because no one was really talking to him the whole trip,” she said.

U-Va. Athletic Director Carla Williams said at a news conference Tuesday that she was not aware of any interactions between Jones – who was briefly on the football team his freshman year – and members on the current roster. “I don’t believe – there was no overlap,” Williams said of Jones’s time on the team and that of Davis, Perry and Chandler, a transfer from Wisconsin. “So I don’t know if there was any interaction outside of the class.”


Michael Hollins Sr., whose son, Michael Hollins Jr., was wounded, said the younger Hollins told family members he heard Jones ask one of the players about a video game.

In the aftermath of the shooting, U-Va. officials had disclosed that an internal threat assessment team was notified about Jones in mid-September, after a student reported that Jones told him he had a gun. The tipster did not see the gun himself, and there was no sign at the time that Jones had made any specific threat connected with it, officials said.

The threat assessment team learned from an investigation that Jones’s roommate had not seen a gun, either. But investigators were unable to speak with Jones himself, U-Va. officials said, despite making efforts to do so.

The investigation also uncovered the fact that Jones had a concealed-weapon conviction in 2021 in Chesterfield County.

This sequence of events before the shooting raised questions in hindsight: Did the threat assessment team make a finding that Jones was not a threat? How could it resolve the matter without speaking with Jones directly? Why would the university not decide to knock on Jones’s door or insist that he come to a meeting as soon as possible to provide answers?

Memorial flowers and notes line walkway on Tuesday at Scott Stadium after three football players were killed in a shooting on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Va. Steve Helber/Associated Press

Coy said the university was unable to share more than what it had already provided during an intense period of crisis response.


“We’re still in the midst of a criminal investigation and responding to the immediate impacts of the tragic shooting that occurred less than 48 hours ago,” Coy wrote Tuesday afternoon. “I will update you with more information as I’m able.”

Police provided new information about the concealed-weapons conviction Tuesday. Chesterfield County police officers stopped Jones while he was driving on Feb. 22, 2021, because his vehicle’s registration “did not come back on file,” the department said in a statement.

During the stop, the officers discovered Jones was carrying a concealed handgun that he did not have a permit for, according to the statement. Court records show it was a 9mm semiautomatic gun.

The officers also found Jones was wanted on two arrest warrants, which court records show were for counts of felony fleeing the scene of an accident and misdemeanor reckless driving related to an August 2020 incident in Petersburg, Va.

Jones was taken into custody on the outstanding warrants and was charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing a concealed gun without a permit, according to the statement.

Jones was found guilty on the gun charge in Chesterfield County General District Court in August 2021, according to court records. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence and was ordered to surrender the gun, which the Chesterfield County police say they still have in their possession.


Jones was scheduled to be arraigned on three counts of murder in connection with the U-Va. shooting on Wednesday morning. No attorney was listed for him in court records.

When reached at home by a reporter Tuesday, Jones’s grandmother spoke only through the closed front door and said she knew nothing about what happened and did not want to talk.

“Everything hit me just like a ton of bricks,” she said.

She said she does not have a TV and heard about the shooting when a relative called at 6 a.m. Monday. “He always went with me to church, sang in the choir,” she said of her grandson. “I’ve got lots of pictures of it, tapes of it and everything.”

She said she did not want to share the items with a reporter: “I’m not prepared to show it.”

An additional jolt of fear shot through campus Tuesday after university officials announced the arrest of a 31-year-old Charlottesville man, Bryan Michael Silva, who was accused of making threatening online posts.


The posts prompted Charlottesville police to get a search warrant for a residence associated with Silva, and he was subsequently taken into custody on charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and drug possession, according to a university news release. He was not associated with the school. No attorney was listed for him in online court records.

“Yesterday was shock,” freshman Amogh Sandil said. “Today is feeling heavy.”

He said he never thought this is how his first few months of college would go. Then again, school shootings feel more familiar than foreign to the 18-year-old.

“There’s been senseless gun violence all across the country,” he said. “I guess it was just a matter of time before it got to us.”

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