The Virginia attorney general will review what led to a shooting on Sunday at the University of Virginia that left three students dead, his office announced on Thursday amid questions about whether the university may have missed warning signs about the suspect.
A lawyer for D’Sean Perry, one of the students killed, questioned this week whether the university had investigated aggressively enough after learning two months ago that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a senior who lived on campus, was in possession of a gun.
University officials had been investigating whether Mr. Jones may have had a gun in the months leading up to the attack, based on a tip they received in September. But the tipster had not actually seen Mr. Jones with a gun, officials said this week, and the university’s threat assessment team learned that Mr. Jones’s roommate had not seen a gun, either. The investigation uncovered that Mr. Jones had a concealed-weapon conviction in 2021 in another Virginia county.
In a letter to the state’s attorney general on Thursday, the university’s president, James E. Ryan, and the university’s rector, Whittington W. Clement, said that they had requested that Virginia State Police take over the primary responsibility for the investigation. But they acknowledged that there were “many valid questions” that might not be answered by the criminal proceedings.
They asked the attorney general to appoint a special counsel to review the university’s response to the shooting and what steps it took beforehand to assess the threat Mr. Jones posed to the community.
Jason Miyares, the state’s attorney general, said on Thursday that his office had agreed to review the events that led to the shooting.
“A public report will be shared with students, families, the larger UVA community, and government officials at the appropriate time,” Victoria LaCivita, a spokeswoman for Mr. Miyares, said in a statement. “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.”
The shooting, which also injured two other students, occurred on Sunday night as the suspect and victims were returning from a class trip to see a play in Washington, D.C. The bus they were on had pulled into a campus parking garage at the Charlottesville campus when the shooting began, the authorities said.
The university campus was locked down for nearly 12 hours, while authorities searched for the suspect, whom they later identified as Mr. Jones. He was charged with three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, the authorities said.
In addition to Mr. Perry, the students killed in the attack were Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr., the authorities said. All three were juniors. On Thursday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that they had each died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to The Associated Press. Efforts to reach an official with the office on Thursday night were not immediately successful.