At least two churches in Charlottesville, Va., have held memorial services honoring the three University of Virginia (UVA) student-athletes who died during an armed attack on Sunday.
Details of the Memorial Services
According to a report by NPR.org, the Westminster Presbyterian Church held a candlelight vigil while the University Baptist Church organized a “Service for Justice and Peace” on Tuesday night.
Matthew Tennant, the Senior Minister of University Baptist Church, called for expedient action on gun violence, which claimed the lives of the three UVA students.
“There’s got to be more than getting together in our houses of worship to pray after someone shoots a bunch of people,” NPR.org quoted Tennant saying.
He added that once gun violence ceased, it would be a testament to the power of God.
“When we fix what is wrong, when we work to put an end to gun violence, God will have worked through us,” the pastor explained.
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How the Shooting Occurred
The same report disclosed details of the deadly armed attack last week.
It said that the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Christopher Darnell Jones, Jr., was with two dozen UVA students who had a field trip on Sunday to watch a football match in neighboring Washington, D.C. The group reportedly came from the UVA campus in Charlottesville.
Once the group arrived back on campus, eyewitnesses said that the suspect began shooting at fellow students. Jones wounded two students and instantly killed three football players, identified as D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis, Jr., and Devin Chandler.
One witness, 19-year-old sophomore Ryan Lynch, told investigators that Jones initially pushed one of the deceased victims and said they were ‘always messing with him.’
“They just kept coming, more and more gunshots – just wouldn’t stop,” Lynch recalled.
He added that Jones “just sort of walked or skipped off the bus” following his killing spree.
The news outlet said university officials immediately placed the campus in a 12-hour lockdown while police officers tracked down the suspect. Charlottesville PD eventually arrested Jones on Monday outside Richmond, Va., the state capital.
Other Details of the Case
Jim Ryan, the UVA president, disclosed that investigators are yet to determine Jones’ motive for the shooting and other details about the incident.
Meanwhile, UVA Athletics Director Carla Williams said at Tuesday’s press conference that she could not provide details about the ongoing police investigation, particularly concerning the suspect’s firearm, as authorities have yet to disclose pertinent information.
State prosecutor James Hingeley said on Tuesday that the suspect faces two counts of malicious wounding, plus second-degree firearms and murder charges.
The news outlet added Jones was set to attend the initial court hearing on Wednesday. NPR.org also said Jones is yet to have a counsel based on available online records.
Should Jones be found financially incapable of hiring a private lawyer, the court will appoint one for him Wednesday and subject him to a bail review, Hingeley said via email.
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