What is U-Va. The motive for the shooting of the suspect?Clues provide the possibility

Christopher Jones Jr. walks into his friend’s Virginia barber shop in 2020 with a generous offer: He’ll use his college refund check from the University of Virginia to buy Vashaun Hill a brand new pair of clippers to replace his old one .

“Chris was a nice guy at heart. I told him, ‘You don’t have to do this,'” said Hill, who played high school football with Jones in Petersburg, Virginia.

Jones still bought the Clippers.

Hill is trying to reconcile memories of his friendly, outgoing friend with reports of another Jones — an alleged mass shooter — that emerged this week. Authorities said Jones methodically shot and killed three football players and wounded two others on a bus that had just returned to the University of Virginia. Sunday night field trip to campus.

Six days later, perhaps the biggest question about the horrific tragedy still haunts Hill, the victims’ families and a grieving University of Virginia. Community: Why?

Authorities have yet to release a motive for the rampage, and those who know the suspect and victim have struggled to come up with any concrete possibility. Although Jones played football, former players said his stint in 2018 was short and unremarkable, and there was no overlap between him and those accused of killing him with a bullet to the head. Family members claimed Jones was bullied, but provided no details and no evidence to support the claims. A witness to the shooting said Jones had little interaction with those who attended the field trip where he is accused of shooting. A friend who has known Jones since high school said that lately, he seemed more withdrawn than she remembered.

“It’s hard to piece all of this together and understand Chris as we know it,” Hill said.

Detectives are still working to determine a motive, Virginia State Police, which took over the investigation Thursday, said in a statement.

“Any claims at this time regarding a specific motive for the shooting are purely speculative and unsubstantiated,” the statement said. “Determining Jones’ motive is a priority of these investigative efforts and a task that will take time to pursue and achieve.”

A prosecutor arguing Jones this week said a witness on the bus told investigators that Jones appeared to be targeting someone, but what, if anything, would have led him to target Devin Chandler , Lavelle Davis Jr. And D’Sean Perry is still shady.

Ryan Lynch, a student at the University of Virginia. A student who witnessed the shooting said she was told by others on the bus that Jones said something along the lines of “you guys are always playing tricks on me” before shooting. But she said the comment was odd because she didn’t see Jones interacting much with other students. The group went to Washington to see a play about Emmet Thiel and eat Ethiopian food at a restaurant.

How a class trip ended with a gunshot at the University of Virginia.

Michael Hollins Sr. said his son Michael Hollins Jr. Those injured in the shooting told him that Jones asked one of the players about a video game before shooting him. He added that his son did not know Jones.

Lynch said she took cover on the floor after the barrage started from behind the bus. Lynch ended up peering out from under a coat as Jones swaggered down the center aisle of the bus, she said. After getting out of the car, Jones fired more shots into the air, she said.

About 12 hours later, he was arrested 80 miles from campus under the University of Virginia’s shelter-in-place order. and massive searches.

The most obvious link between Jones and four of the five victims is that they all played for U-Va at some point. football team. He was a solitary and quiet guy on the team, left alone during practices, drills and weightlifting sessions, the former player said.

But according to the players, there was no overlap between the victim and Jones — Jones was briefly a member in 2018. Perry joined the University of Virginia. Football in 2019, a year after Jones left. So did Hollins, according to the University of Virginia’s website. Davis joined the team in 2020. Chandler is a rookie transfer from Wisconsin this year. The fifth victim was a 19-year-old schoolgirl; her family declined to comment.

Armando “Mandy” Alonso Jr. – a former member of the football team from 2017 to 2021 – played alongside Jones and two of his victims, Davis and Perry.

“I don’t think Chris ever knew any of them or played with them,” Alonso said. “He’s only been there for a few months.”

The man who opened the door at Jones’ mother’s home this week and identified himself as Jones’ 19-year-old brother said Jones had been picked on for a long time, starting in high school and extending through college.

“It followed him,” the man said.

But the 19-year-old would not say who Jones claimed to have harassed him, or provide any details about the harassment.

He claimed his brother was at a “breaking point”.

“He held it in for too long,” he said. “This has been happening for several months.”

Jones appeared to echo some of those claims in a 2021 interview with the University of Virginia. Student newspaper – despite his suggestion that the bullying happened before he was in college. A student named Christopher Jones, whose photo accompanying the article appeared to be the same man arrested in the shooting, said he found a home in the school’s Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity chapter, where he serves as president .

“I was bullied a lot, and it kept me at a distance,” Jones said. “As I got older, I realized that there are many things in life that I cannot do alone, so I decided that after college, I was going to find a group of like-minded people and pursue achievement. I found it. I found Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated .”

Several members of the fraternity declined to comment to The Washington Post, with one member saying they had received orders from state leaders not to speak to reporters. The national organization issued a statement offering its condolences to the University of Virginia. Tragic, but doesn’t mention Jones’ ties to the fraternity. Executive Director John F. Burrell confirmed the membership of the U-Va chapter. was asked not to speak publicly about Jones and declined to answer any other questions.

Jones was hailed as a success story in a 2018 story in the Richmond Times Dispatch, overcoming a difficult childhood in Richmond public housing to earn a place at a top public university. But as his academic career progressed at the University of Virginia, he got into trouble on and off campus.

Jones and other U-Vas, said former Charlottesville Police Chief Raschael Brackney. The football players were involved in a serious brawl at the Asado bar near U-Va. end of 2019.It was not immediately clear if any of the victims in the recent shootings were related to that battle.

Charlottesville police declined a public records request for a police report on the incident, but told a local newspaper, U-Va, at the time. A student was injured in the fight and was taken to hospital.

The newspaper reported that no charges were charged in the case because the victim did not cooperate with police. The bar owner said in an interview that he had no recollection of the incident.

In 2020, Jones was charged with a felony count of fleeing the scene of a car accident in Peterborough. The charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor and Jones pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

In February 2021, a Chesterfield County police officer stopped Jones while driving because no tags were on file on his vehicle, and during a search found one on Jones’ belt, a police report said. Stolen firearms.

jones told police He reportedly paid $500 from a guy at 711 for the gun. Jones told officers he wanted the gun to protect his family after he lost two brothers. Family members did not respond to requests for comment on the statement.

Later in 2021, Jones was convicted of possessing a firearm without a license and received another suspended sentence.

In September, university officials said a student told administrators that Jones said he had a gun while investigating “potential bullying concerns,” but they did not elaborate. University officials said the gun report sparked an investigation by the Threat Assessment Team.

Jones’ roommate told the team he did not see Jones with a gun, but the threat assessment team never appeared to speak to Jones, and officials said he was not cooperating with the investigation. During the investigation, officials uncovered Jones’ 2021 firearms conviction, which they say Jones failed to report to the university as required by school rules.

School officials initially said they had referred Jones for disciplinary action because he did not disclose his conviction, but later said they did not make the referral until after the shooting because of an inadvertent error.

Defendant U-Va.Threat assessment team conducts weapons check on shooter

A handgun was found near the scene of the shooting, state police said, and investigators found a rifle and a pistol when they searched Jones’ Charlottesville home after the shooting. All firearms were sent to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for disposal.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miares announced Thursday that he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the University of Virginia’s handling of the incident that led to the shooting.

Jones faces three counts of second-degree murder and other charges related to the shooting. His next court appearance is December 12. 8. His lawyer declined to comment. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at the University of Virginia.

Morgan Johnson was with Jones in the student center the Wednesday before he opened fire on his classmate.

This semester, they meet in the same place about three times a week to take Swahili, a virtual class at the University of Virginia. Students in the class choose to attend lectures in the same space on campus. Johnson said Jones was always telling jokes during his studies.

“Every day is different,” she said.

Johnson, a 21-year-old senior, remembers Jones asking her if she was excited about graduating. When she answered in the affirmative, he agreed: “Yeah, I’m finally ready to graduate,” she recalls.

Johnson said she didn’t know Jones had a gun and was shocked to hear another student report that he might have one.

Kayla Hendrick, another 21-year-old University of Virginia senior, said she has noticed a change in Jones since they went to high school together in Peterborough. Before college, Hendrick described Jones as “extroverted” and “stupid”. She said he loved singing “any R&B song” and was known for his wit.

Hendrick reconnected with Jones this semester for the first time since high school. At the start of the semester, she said she saw him at events around campus, such as town halls organized by black student groups. By November, she said she had only seen him in academic settings, and he seemed to want to be alone.

“You can tell the last four years have been a lot,” she said. “His light is dimmer. He’s always alone.”

University of Virginia President James E. Ryan said it might be difficult to make sense of the events this week in a video address on campus. Investigators have yet to find a motive for some other high-profile mass shootings, such as the attack that killed 58 people during a Las Vegas concert.

“It’s possible, maybe we’ll never find a single thing that could explain this,” Ryan said. “It could also be that we never really understood why this happened. But we’ll share what we learn.”

William H. Reid, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas who spent hours interviewing mass shooting killer James Holmes, said the motives for such events are often Emerged early in the investigation – apparent anger, desire for revenge or passion sparked the atrocity.

But he said mass shooters are sometimes spurred to violence by triggers that might not make sense to others.

“Often what’s going on in the attacker’s mind is not the normal pathway that one would expect,” Reid said. “When you’re … trying to make it seem logical, it’s usually a fool’s errand. It’s about having a mind that doesn’t function well, at least in this particular area.”

Alice Crites and Karina Elwood contributed to this report.

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