Three members of the University of Virginia football team in the eastern United States were killed in a shooting Sunday night that arrested the suspect, a former member of the team, authorities said at a news conference on Monday.
Two other students were injured, one seriously, said University President Jim Ryan.
Local Police Chief Timothy Longo added that the suspect, 22-year-old college student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had been arrested and charged with murder.
He was arrested in a suburb of Richmond, about 100 miles from the main campus of the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, according to Henrico County Police.
A UVA team tasked with investigating students who may pose a security threat had previously been seized from Mr Jones Jr after reports said he had a gun but no gun had been found, Timothy said Longo.
The shooting took place on board a bus as the students were returning from a field trip where they had seen a play, President Jim Ryan said.
The campus, which was under lockdown overnight and patrolled by helicopters searching for the suspect before his arrest, has now reopened, Ryan said. Classes for the day have been cancelled.
The White House on Monday offered condolences to the victims’ families, condemned “a senseless shootout” and called on Congress to tighten small arms laws.
“Too many families across America are bearing the horrific burden of gun violence,” management spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre wrote in a statement. “We must ban assault rifles to remove these weapons of war from America’s streets,” she continued.
“It’s a day of incredible sadness,” said Tim Ryan. “The whole university is in mourning this morning.”
He called on those who “needed help” to take advantage of the resources provided by the university, including psychological support.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted a “horrific tragedy” in which families’ lives were “changed forever” and praised the work of law enforcement that led to the arrest.
School shootings are common in the United States, and each time it fuels debate about better gun control.
Such a tragedy had already struck Virginia in April 2007: an unbalanced student shot dead 32 people on the Virginia Tech University campus in Blacksburg before committing suicide.
Democratic Virginia Senator Tim Kaine tweeted Monday that he was “deeply moved to learn that more Virginians have been wiped out by gun violence.”
Acting in Idaho
Emotions caused by this tragedy were further heightened by the announcement on Sunday of the discovery of the lifeless bodies of four students at another institution, the University of Idaho (Northwest).
“It is with great sadness that I share with you today information that has been made available to the university regarding the deaths of four University of Idaho students who lived off campus and were allegedly the victims of a ‘murder,'” said the institution’s president, Scott Green , in a statement.
Police in the city of Moscow, where the bodies were found, have launched an investigation.
However, police believe the situation does not pose a “direct threat,” Mr Green added.
A third incident heightened tensions Monday morning when Oakland University near Detroit, Michigan (north) urged its students and staff not to go to its campus, where police searched for two armed suspects before a few hours later everything displayed was back to normal.