HomeNewsCould the UVa tragedy have been prevented? Scrutiny on the suspect’s gun...

Could the UVa tragedy have been prevented? Scrutiny on the suspect’s gun conviction, failed background check

Gun conviction was by no means relayed to UVa committee

On Monday, officers started portray a disturbing image of Jones, a former soccer participant listed on the varsity’s gridiron roster in 2018.

College Police Chief Timothy Longo informed reporters the college’s “risk evaluation group” had discovered about Jones in September after a 3rd occasion, who was not a pupil, reported that he spoke about having a gun. He mentioned the varsity’s pupil affairs workplace interviewed Jones’ roommate, who had not seen the suspect with a gun.

It wasn’t clear if the varsity’s inside investigation of Jones presumably having a gun ended with that roommate’s interview.

Jones had additionally been concerned within the campus hazing probe, which was closed as a result of uncooperative witnesses, Longo mentioned.

Extra protection of the lethal College of Virginia capturing

Extra disclosures about Jones’ previous have been made public.

On Tuesday, college officers admitted they discovered Jones had been convicted of a misdemeanor for a hid weapons violation in 2021.

However it was unclear whether or not the revelation about his prison historical past would have been sufficient for the college to take well timed, severe motion towards him.

College spokesman Brian Coy mentioned that it was “round mid-September” that the varsity uncovered Jones’ gun incident and that “he had didn’t disclose a conviction to the college, which is a requirement of college coverage.”

The Workplace of Scholar Affairs moved Oct. 27 “to escalate his case for disciplinary motion,” the assertion mentioned.

However officers mentioned they realized solely after Sunday’s capturing that the report of his conviction was by no means relayed to the College Judiciary Committee.

Whereas the student-led College Judiciary Committee may need been able to behave towards Jones, the varsity mentioned that in “order to serve due course of, their proceedings usually take weeks or months.”

“Within the wake of the capturing yesterday, Scholar Affairs officers found that the report had not been transmitted to the College Judiciary Committee (UJC), and are working to right that,” the varsity mentioned Monday.

Jones made his first look in court docket Wednesday over a video hyperlink. Prosecutor James Hingeley of the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Legal professional’s Workplace mentioned a witness noticed Jones shoot Chandler in his sleep.

Hingeley revealed in court docket Jones’ earlier scrapes with the regulation.

He was arrested in February 2021 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, on a hid weapons violation, Hingeley mentioned. Jones was convicted in June 2021 and given a 12-month suspended sentence, he mentioned.

When Jones was arrested in Chesterfield County, he had excellent warrants out of Petersburg on expenses of hit-and-run with property injury and reckless driving, Hingeley mentioned. Jones was given a 12-month suspended sentence on every of the costs in October 2021, he mentioned.

Gun buy got here months after failed background verify

Jones’ obvious fondness for weapons additionally put him on the radar of regulation enforcement not less than two instances.

He tried to purchase a handgun from Dance’s Sporting Items in Colonial Heights, Virginia, on Dec. 31, 2018, when he was youthful than 21, retailer proprietor Marlon Dance mentioned in assertion.

Jones returned to the identical retailer July 8, 2021, the assertion mentioned. He tried to buy a Smith & Wesson M&P15-22, a .22-caliber rifle, however “failed the background verify,” the proprietor mentioned.  

Each tried purchases have been forwarded to the Virginia State Police “for additional motion,” the assertion mentioned.

Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller mentioned there may be “an lively investigation into an tried buy of a firearm on July 8,” 2021. The company’s Firearms Transaction Heart denied Jones’ request, she mentioned, based mostly on a pending cost.

Geller didn’t disclose the cost, however NBC affiliate WWBT of Richmond reported it stemmed from the hit-and-run crash Jones was concerned in Aug. 9, 2020, in Petersburg.

“The pending cost was decreased to a misdemeanor by the court docket in October 2021, thereby eradicating the prohibition towards future purchases,” Geller mentioned.

That paved the way in which for Jones this yr to purchase two weapons from Dance’s Sporting Items — the identical retailer that denied him in 2018 and 2021.

Jones purchased a Ruger AR-556 rifle Feb. 19 and a Glock 45 9 mm pistol with a further journal July 8, the shop mentioned in its assertion.

Virginia State Police officers haven’t disclosed the kind of gun used within the week’s rampage, however mentioned it was turned over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “as proof for processing.”

Virginia regulation does spell out a process for regulation enforcement to petition a court docket to confiscate weapons and block gun gross sales to somebody who’s a deemed credible danger.

Nevertheless, Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of native coverage on the Giffords Regulation Heart to Stop Gun Violence, mentioned she’d battle in charge any police officer for not flagging Jones.

“From the data I’ve, I can not inform whether or not this is able to have been a viable choice for regulation enforcement, although his convictions could have been proof to help this allegation,” she mentioned. 

T. Christian Heyne, vice chairman of coverage at Brady United In opposition to Gun Violence, mentioned that in hindsight, he thinks Virginia police might have gone to court docket towards Jones, however he added that they might’ve wanted further proof — greater than what’s identified now — to limit him from buying weapons.

“It’s most likely lacking one piece and what I’ll be interested by popping out is: Was there anyone else who recognized that he was appearing dangerously?” Heyne mentioned Friday, referring to individuals in Jones’ circle. “It’s like a sequence of cracks that he slipped by way of.”

Antonio Planas reported from Charlottesville and Marlene Lenthang and David Okay. Li from New York.

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