Eyewitness accounts of UVA shootings; Bronco & Jones weigh in; update on shooter’s arraignment

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Image: UVA Athletics

Some witnesses to Sunday night’s slaying of three UVA football players are beginning to speak out concerning the situation.

One female who was on the bus trip described to WCHV radio in Charlottesville the moments when alleged shooter Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. shot and killed three players and wounded another player and another female.

She said that when the bus pulled into the parking lot at Culbreth parking garage, Jones got up from his seat, confronted Lavel Davis Jr., pushed or shoved him, and said something like, “You’ve been on me,” then proceeded to shoot Davis and others.

She also said that Davis had not interacted or spoken with Jones for the entire trip, to her knowledge. Jones was not a member of the same drama class with most or all of those on the field trip to Washington, D.C., where they took in a play for their drama class, but was on the trip.

In another gut-wrenching interview with ABC News’ Lindsey Davis, Ryan Lynch gave a very descriptive picture of what happened on the bus, and how she and friends were terrified when the shootings began and how they tried to be with Davis, who was sprawled on the floor of the bus.

Here is the interview. It is a heartbreaking eight minutes about the murders:

Bronco reaches out to families

Former UVA football coach Bronco Mendenhall, who recruited the three slain players and Mike Hollins (see related story on his survival), has reached out to the families involved.

Mendenhall, who moved out West in late spring, told ESPN’s David Hale that he had spoken to the mothers of all three players who were killed.

“The words coming out of my mouth weren’t even making sense,” Mendenhall said. “It wasn’t even really coherent. It doesn’t feel right.”

Jones to be arraigned Wednesday

Alleged shooter Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. was supposed to be in court Tuesday, but instead is expected to be arraigned Wednesday morning in Albemarle General District Court.

Albemarle has been working to acquire the paperwork from Henrico County, where Jones was apprehended by police on Monday. Jones, a senior at UVA, is from Petersburg.

According to UVA Police Chief Tim Longo, Jones has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony.

Todd B. Stone, a criminal defense attorney from Richmond and a former prosecutor in Virginia, explained the charges against Jones.

“Murder is presumed to be second degree (by default),” Stone said. “Pre-meditation makes murder first degree and need not exist for any specific length of time. Second-degree charges at the outset are really just to get [Jones] in custody, not necessarily what he will face at trial.”

Former UVA coach, player Jeff Jones reaches out

UVA AD Carla Williams said so many schools around the country have reached out to express their condolences and support for Virginia football in the wake of the murders.

One of those was former UVA player and head basketball coach Jeff Jones, the longtime hoops coach at Old Dominion.

ODU held a moment of silence in honor of the UVA players at the Monarchs’ game Monday night. According to Harry Minium, who writes for the school’s athletic program, as the crowd stood in silence, Jones shed tears.

After the win over Virginia Wesleyan, Jones didn’t talk about the game, choosing to talk about the shootings at UVA.

“It was difficult to really focus on the game,” Jones said, noting that his children and grandchildren live in the Charlottesville area.

“It’s just got to stop,” Jones told Minium of the shooting deaths around the country. “We can’t keep having our young people being killed, being executed. We have to be better than that as a society and a country.

“I’m not offering any solutions. I’m not pretending that I’ve got the answers, but we have to do better. We have a day those three young men don’t have. I was able to pick up the phone and call my kids today.”