A suspect has been taken into custody after a shooting at the University of Virginia left three members of the football team dead.

Authorities identified the suspect as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr, a student at the university in Charlottesville.

Along with the three fatalities, two others were wounded when shots rang out in a parking garage as a bus full of students returned from a trip to Washington DC on Sunday night.

University president Jim Ryan said one of the wounded students was in a critical condition while the other was in a good condition at a local hospital.

Mr Ryan and members of local law enforcement were in the middle of a late morning news conference when they got the news that Jones had been captured.

University police chief Timothy Longo Sr. said initially officials were "reasonably confident" the shooter was no longer on school grounds and urged the public to call 911 immediately if they saw him or the black SUV he was believed to be driving.

However, upon hearing Jones had been apprehended, Chief Longo said, "just give me a moment to thank God, breathe a sigh of relief."

A multiple agency manhunt was launched for Jones, who was described as "armed and dangerous", and lasted 13 hours with students on campus warned to shelter in place.

Jones is listed on the university’s athletics website as a football player in 2018, who as a first year did not participate in any games.

The victims have not been named.

"As of this writing, I am heartbroken to report that the shooting has resulted in three fatalities; two additional victims were injured and are receiving medical care," Ryan confirmed.

"This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia. This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community."

Classes at the 25,000 student university were cancelled on Monday following the incident, with support made available for students and staff.

Read more:
How do US gun laws work and why have attempts to restrict them failed?

The attack is the latest shooting on US college and school campuses in recent years.

The bloodshed has fuelled fierce debate over tighter gun control laws in the US, where the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms.

A shooting in 2007 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, about 150 miles (241 km) southwest of Charlottesville, left 33
people dead, including the shooter, and 23 injured in one of the deadliest mass shooting at a university in the country’s history.

© Sky News 2022