A former University of Virginia football player who allegedly killed three UVA football players told his dad he was being bullied in the weeks before the shooting.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 22, was arrested Monday after a 12-hour manhunt. He is accused of killing Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. in a rampage late Sunday.
The victims had just returned to the campus after a field trip to Washington, DC when they were shot.
Two of the victims were found dead on the bus. The third football player was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Two others were wounded in the shooting and remain hospitalized.
Jones, Jr. was raised by his single mother after his parents’ divorced when he was 5. He didn’t see his father again until he was a teenager.
Jones Jr. described his parents’ divorce as “one of the most traumatic things that happened to me in my life.” He added, “I didn’t understand why he left. When I went to school, people didn’t understand me.”
His father, Christopher Darnell Jones Sr., spoke with reporters on Monday. Jones Sr. described his son as a “sensitive young man” who seemed excited to celebrate his 23rd birthday on Thursday.
When Jones Jr. and his mother stopped getting along, he moved in with his father and grandmother in Petersburg.
There, he played football for Petersburg High School and “excelled” academically. He was “everyone’s friend”. “Everybody loved Chris, and he had a movie star smile he would flash,” Jones Sr. said.
He said his son was “paranoid” in the days leading up to the shooting. Jones Jr. allegedly told his father that people had been “picking on him” weeks before the murders.
“He didn’t know how to handle it and I told him just go to school, don’t pay it any mind.”
The motive for the murders is unclear, but sources say Jones was taunted by other football players for being gay.
Jones Sr. said he wished to speak with his son face-to-face so he can seek answers. “I can’t believe it was him,” he told NBC12. “I still can’t believe it now.”
Jones Jr. had been on police’s radar in the months prior to the murders.
The school’s chief of police, Tim Longo, said another student reported Jones had a concealed weapon. But Longo said police believe the person who reported him never saw a gun.
Jones’ roommates told officers they had not seen him with a weapon.
Police said Jones was on the school’s threat assessment radar because of a hazing investigation that was eventually closed after witnesses refused to cooperate with police, according to the NY Post.
Officials did not disclose details about the hazing incident. Jones had previously been penalized for a concealed weapons violation in February 2021.
UVA President Jim Ryan confirmed that Jones is a current student who had been off the football team for a year.