The University will delay the release of the external review of events related to the Nov. 13 shooting, citing concerns of disrupting criminal proceedings, per a press release sent Friday. Originally, University leadership said the report would be released early November — it is unclear as of now what the timeline for the criminal trial is or when to expect the report’s release.
University President Jim Ryan said the decision was made in conjunction with counselors and Albemarle County Attorney Jim Hingeley.
“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 [Hingeley] or by interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial before an impartial jury,” Ryan said.
In the days following the shooting that resulted in the deaths of three students on the football team — Lavel Davis Jr., D’Sean Perry and Devin Chandler — Ryan and other University leadership asked Attorney General Jason Miyares to conduct an external review into the circumstances leading up to the shooting and their response in the aftermath.
The Board initially received the report of the review Oct. 20, one unredacted version and one version redacted to comply with federal privacy laws. Ryan said the redacted version of the report will be released once criminal proceedings have concluded.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., who has been charged with thirteen counts in relation to the shooting, waived his rights to a preliminary hearing Aug. 20. Jones is currently slated to appear in court Feb. 5, 2024, and may have his trial date set then. It is unclear how long proceedings will take.
Prior to the shooting, Jones was reported to the University’s Threat Assessment Team — a group responsible for preventing violence on Grounds — for referencing possession of a firearm to a third party unaffiliated with the University.
Following the shooting, police discovered a semi-automatic rifle, pistol, ammunition and a device to make bullets fire faster in Jones' on-Grounds dorm room, according to a search warrant inventory obtained by the Daily Progress.
The threat assessment investigation also revealed that Jones had been involved in a prior criminal incident outside of Charlottesville involving a concealed weapon and had failed to report the conviction as required by the University.
Miyares appointed the law firm Quinn Emanuel to review circumstances leading up to Nov. 13 and former attorney Zachary Terwilliger to review emergency and law enforcement response after the shooting.
Rector Robert Hardie said the Board agrees with the University’s decision, and that “this delay does not mean we are standing still.”
Over the past year, the University has made changes to better mitigate threats to public safety and prepare for response in the event of an emergency. According to the release, some of these changes include expanding the resources of the Threat Assessment Team, requiring immediate notice to the University Police Department of weapons on Grounds and revising policies related to sharing sensitive information among departments and units that respond to emergencies.
“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 said. “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.”
Friday marks four days since the one year anniversary of the shooting. Several events were held on Grounds including the playing of Amazing Grace at the University Chapel followed by three bell chimes Monday at 12:55 p.m. and a vigil organized by student leaders Monday evening.