The University of Virginia remained under lockdown Monday, hours after three people were killed and two injured in a shooting near a parking garage on campus, authorities said.
A search was underway for the suspect, who university President Jim Ryan said was a student at the elite, 22,000-student school.
“Update: Active search still underway on and around UVA Grounds. Remain sheltered in place. Please stay safe, thank you for your patience and understanding,” the UVA Police Department tweeted at about 9:30 am Monday.
Police said a shooting was reported at about 10:40 pm Sunday on the northern edge of campus, tweeting: “UVA Alert: ACTIVE ATTACKER firearm reported in area of Culbreth Road. RUN HIDE FIGHT.”
Ryan said counseling and psychological services would be made available to students. Classes were canceled Monday.
“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 in an open letter shared on social media. “This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said agents were assisting in the investigation. Gov. Glenn Youngkin said State Police were coordinating with local authorities, adding that he and his wife, Suzanne, were “praying for the UVA community.”
Who is shooting suspect Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.?
Authorities were searching for Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. and said he was considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who saw him was advised to call 911 – and not to approach him.
Multiple police agencies were searching on the ground and from a helicopter. Authorities said Jones may be driving a black SUV.
A photo of Jones tweeted by UVA police also appears on virginiasports.com, where Jones was listed on the UVA football team roster in 2018. His profile says he was then a 5-foot, 9-inch, 195-pound first-year running back from Petersburg, Va., who did not appear in any games. It adds that he graduated from Petersburg High School after spending three years at Varina High School, where he was named Student of the Year as a freshman and sophomore, according to the profile.
Students huddle together, waiting for news
Luke, 21, a 4th-year student majoring in foreign affairs, biology and pre-med, was locked down at his girlfriend’s house with several other students “studying and just staying put.” They listened to the police scanner for updates from the scene, less than a mile away.
“People have been locked down in libraries all night. Everyone (is) definitely shaken up,” Luke, who preferred that his last name be withheld for privacy reasons, told USA TODAY in an email. “We are in deep prayer for the victims and for their families right now.”
4 UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO STUDENTS FOUND DEAD:Homicide suspected
UVA shooting victims
Ryan said the shooter was a student, but the identities of the victims were not immediately released.
“We are working closely with the families of the victims and we will share additional details as soon as we are able,” Ryan said.
Where is UVA located?
The university is located on 2,000 acres in Charlottesville, about 115 miles southwest of Washington and 70 miles west of the state capital of Richmond. The school was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, whose Monticello estate sits a couple miles off campus.
This is a breaking story. Follow USA TODAY for the latest updates.