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Police: Alleged UVA shooter had stolen gun during 2021 arrest

Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., charged in the deadly UVA shooting, claimed he bought a concealed handgun "for $500 from a guy at the 7-11."

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Investigations into past court records continue to reveal new details about a 22-year-old UVA student charged in Sunday's deadly campus shooting. Records obtained Thursday morning from Chesterfield County, Virginia, revealed that Christopher Darnell Jones was once arrested with a stolen gun. 

In February 2021, police say they pulled over a car without proper tags. They report finding Jones driving with a “burnt marijuana” smell coming from the car. Police say Jones admitted to having a 9 millimeter handgun on him.

When police ran the gun’s serial number, the police report says the gun came back as “stolen from Petersburg.” The police report also says Jones told them he “paid $500 from a guy at the 7-11” for the gun. Jones told police he had the gun because “he lost two of his brothers," according to court records. 

Jones was convicted for that incident of “illegal possession of a concealed firearm” in June 2021. But he was given a suspended jail sentence. 

A Virginia gun store reports selling Jones two more guns immediately after he served his suspended jail sentence for that conviction.

Dance’s Sporting Goods, in the Richmond area, said they sold Jones two firearms in February: a 9mm handgun and a AR-556 rifle.

WUSA9 cross checked with Jones’ court records and other attempted gun purchases at the same store and found:

  • A 2018 attempt to buy a handgun that was rejected for being underage
  • A 2021 attempt to buy a rifle rejected for failing a background check (one month after he was found guilty of illegal possession of a concealed weapon

Court records show the 2021 attempted purchase was one month after he was found guilty of illegal possession of a concealed weapon. His successful 2022 gun purchases happened immediately after his 12-month suspended jail sentence ended for that concealed weapons charge. However, due to the fact that he had not been found guilty of a felony, as all prior charges had ended as misdemeanors, Jones was eligible to pass an ATF background check, according to Form 4473.

Albemarle County prosecutors have not disclosed which weapons they believe Jones allegedly used in the UVA bus shooting.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said Thursday his office would be investigating the shooting. 

“The Office of the Attorney General, at the request of the University of Virginia and its Board of Visitors, will be conducting a review of the events that led to the tragic death of three university students last Sunday evening," Miyares said. "Attorney General Jason Miyares will enlist special counsel to assist the Office in completing this important work. A public report will be shared with students, families, the larger UVA community, and government officials at the appropriate time. The Attorney General will work with deliberate speed while ensuring that all necessary resources remain devoted to the criminal investigation being conducted by state and local authorities.”

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