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Alleged UVA shooter had 2 suspended jail sentences before campus shootings

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. was on probation for a prior hit-and-run crash at the time of the UVA shooting. Now he's charged with 3 counts of second-degree murder.

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — UVA student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. is facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, after he allegedly shot and killed three football players and injured two other students on a charter bus after a class field trip to D.C. Sunday night. He'll make his first court appearance Wednesday morning. 

But according to court documents and local law enforcement, it won't be his first brush with the law. 

In August 2020, Jones failed to stop at the scene of a Petersburg, Virginia car crash causing more than $1,000 in damage according to court documents. He was arrested on felony charges in February 2021 by Chesterfield County, Virginia police during a traffic stop.

"On Feb. 22, 2021, in the area of Boisseau Street and Third Avenue, officers stopped a vehicle because its registration did not come back on file," Chesterfield County Police spokesperson Elizabeth Caroon. "During the stop, the driver of the vehicle, Christopher D. Jones Jr., was found to be in possession of a concealed handgun without a permit. He was also found to be wanted on two outstanding charges from Petersburg. Jones was taken into custody for the two outstanding warrants and charged with misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon without a permit – first offense." 

Two months later, Jones failed to appear in court. In June 2021, Jones was found guilty, paid a $100 fine, and received a 12-month suspended jail sentence. He was given another 12-month suspended jail sentence for the felony “failure to stop at an accident.”

In September, UVA's Office of Student Affairs reviewed a “potential hazing issue” involving Jones. UVA officials said they discovered a prior gun conviction during their internal investigation of the hazing incident. The university said Jones was required to inform it about his conviction but did not.

According to Virginia law, Jones needed no permit to own and open carry a firearm in Virginia; permits are required for concealed carry. However, guns are forbidden anywhere on the UVA campus.

"The University has taken appropriate administrative charges through the university's judiciary counsel and that matter is still pending adjudication," UVA Police Chief Tim Longo said.

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