The Virginia State Police will take over the investigation of the shooting at the University of Virginia this week that left three football players dead and two other students injured, officials announced Thursday.
The move came at the request of the University of Virginia and its police department, which had been handling the high-profile probe into the slayings that occurred on a charter bus, as a group of about 25 students returned from a field trip in Washington on Sunday night.
“Due to the investigation’s expansion across multiple jurisdictions, VSP is able to bring additional resources and personnel to this active and complex investigation,” the state police said in a statement.
Virginia State Police has been involved in the investigation of the shootings since its early stages, the university said. The U-Va. police department will remain involved in the probe, along with the Albemarle County Police Department, the Charlottesville Police Department, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, federal prosecutors, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., 23, is facing three counts of second-degree murder for the slayings of Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry, as well as other charges.
During his initial appearance in court Wednesday, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Hingeley said a witness told investigators Jones seemed to be targeting certain people when he opened fire on the bus. Hingeley said one of the victims was shot in his sleep.
A judge ordered Jones held on no bond until his next court appearance Dec. 8. The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.
The Virginia State Police expects to put out an update on the case later Thursday.