RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The University of Virginia is delaying the release of findings from an external investigation into the 2022 campus shooting that left three student-athletes dead and two others injured until after the criminal trial is over.
University leaders had a goal of making the report public by early November but cited concerns in an announcement Friday that the report could potentially influence the ongoing criminal proceedings.
“Making the report public at this time, or even releasing a summary of their findings and recommendations, could have an impact on the criminal trial of the accused, either by disrupting the case being prepared by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, or by interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury,” University of Virginia President Jim Ryan said in a statement.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. is facing six counts of aggravated murder in the shooting deaths of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, three students who were on the university’s football team, last year.
Two other students, Marlee Morgan and Michael Hollins, another football team member, were wounded in the shooting.
Jones, a student who was formerly on the football team, is accused of opening fire inside a chartered bus that had just returned to the university from a field trip. Authorities and witnesses claimed Jones opened fire as students slept and targeted victims.
“We recognize that many people, including the families of those who were killed or injured that night, are awaiting more information as they continue to grieve and recover from the incalculable loss they experienced,” Ryan continued. “We are committed to providing it as soon as we can be sure that doing so will not interfere in any way with the criminal proceeding.”
At the university’s request, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares appointed a law firm to review the events that led to the shooting and the school’s threat assessment process.
A former U.S. attorney was also picked to evaluate the university’s emergency and law enforcement response to the shooting.
The results were shared to the Board of Visitors and university leaders on Oct. 20 in two reports. The university plans to release a redacted final report once the criminal proceedings have ended.
Jones initially faced second-degree murder and other charges until a special grand jury issued 13 new indictments against him on Sept. 6, months after it was formed to review evidence in the case.
He was indicted on six counts of aggravated murder, the most severe murder charge in Virginia, and aggravated malicious wounding charges.