CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NewsNation) — The suspect who allegedly shot and killed three people and wounded two others at the University of Virginia late Sunday is now in police custody, police announced during a news conference on Monday.
Officials announced that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones, a student at the university, had been taken into custody while speaking to the media.
The shooting occurred on a bus full of students returning from a field trip, President Jim Ryan said during a press conference on Monday.
The shooting occurred around 10:30 p.m. Sunday and “resulted in three fatalities; two additional victims were injured and are receiving medical care,” Ryan said in a letter to the university posted on social media.
All three victims killed were UVA football players: Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry. Head football coach Tony Elliott said the team is heartbroken over the loss.
“I cannot find the words to express the devastation and heartache that our team is feeling today after the tragic events last night that resulted in the deaths of Lavel, D’Sean and Devin, and the others who were injured. These were incredible young men with huge aspirations and extremely bright futures. Our hearts ache for their families, their classmates and their friends,” Elliott shared on Twitter. “These precious young men were called away too soon. We are all fortunate to have them be a part of our lives. They touched us, inspired us and worked incredibly hard as representatives of our program, university and community. Rest in peace, young men.”
Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said the community is remembering the three victims as not only good athletes, but good people, too.
“I’ve talked to folks who had taught them who remembered that they were good people who liked to learn, who were there for all the right reasons,” Snook said. “They valued having a good education, and that’s why they came.”
Snook’s focus is on helping the community heal.
“The first message I would want to give to Charlottesville is something I think we all have to reminded of from time to time, which is that we are more than the last worst thing that happened to us,” Snook said. “We care about one another, and we want to see good things happen to the UVA students that come.”
After the shooting occurred, the UVA Police Department posted a notice online saying multiple police agencies including the state police were searching for a suspect who was considered “armed and dangerous.”
The university’s emergency management issued an alert early Monday morning notifying the campus community of an “active attacker firearm.” The message warned students to shelter in place following a report of shots fired on Culbreth Road on the campus. Classes were canceled Monday.
The UVA Police Department lifted the shelter-in-place order just after 10:30 a.m. ET Monday upon a thorough search on and around campus grounds.
UVA Police Chief Timothy Longo said in the press conference that in September the Office of Student Affairs received a report that Jones had made comments about owning a gun. The report caught the attention of the threat assessment team. The team tried to follow up with Jones, but in a follow-up with Jones’ roommate and the person who reported the threat, both said neither of them had seen a gun.
“This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia,” Ryan wrote. “This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community.”
Charlottesville City Schools canceled classes and closed offices on Monday in order to give police time to investigate and search for the suspect in their community.
For family and friends with questions about the incident, UVA has established an Emergency Hotline at 877-685-4836.
This is a breaking news story, please check back later for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.