University of Virginia officials have announced a further delay in the public release of the findings of an investigation into a campus shooting that occurred in 2022. The shooting resulted in the deaths of three student-athletes and the injury of two other students. The university cited concerns about the impact the findings could have on the pending trial of the accused, Christopher Jones, as the reason for the delay. UVA President Jim Ryan stated that releasing the report at this time could potentially disrupt the criminal trial or interfere with Jones’ right to a fair trial.
The decision to delay the release of the investigation findings has drawn criticism from open government advocate Megan Rhyne and former U.S. attorney John Fishwick Jr. Rhyne expressed disappointment in the university’s decision to withhold information that is in the public interest. Fishwick argued that the victims’ families and the public have a right to know the details of the investigation.
Jones, a former UVA student and football team member, is facing charges of aggravated murder, aggravated malicious wounding, and firearms-related counts. The shooting occurred when Jones allegedly opened fire on members of the football team as they returned to campus from a field trip. The campus was placed on lockdown for 12 hours until the suspect was apprehended.
The university initiated an outside review of its safety policies, response to the violence, and prior efforts to assess the potential threat of Jones shortly after the shooting. The review was conducted by outside counsel appointed by Attorney General Jason Miyares. However, Miyares’ office has also refused to release the report.
The university had previously indicated that the investigation findings would be discussed with UVA’s Board of Visitors and those most affected by the shooting before being released publicly, potentially in early November. However, the release of the report has now been postponed until after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings against Jones.