Two officers killed in shooting at Bridgewater College in Virginia

Two officers were fatally shot at Bridgewater College in Virginia on Tuesday after the university reported “active shooter” on campus, college officials said.

Campus Police Officer John Painter and Campus Security Officer JJ Jefferson were shot at around 1:20 p.m. after responding to a call from a suspicious individual who was in an area of ​​the small private college in liberal arts where he was not allowed to be, state police said.

Alexander Wyatt Campbell, 27, of Ashland, Va., opened fire on officers after a brief interaction and fled on foot into the town of Bridewater, about 140 miles southwest of Washington, DC, said Corinne Geller, public relations officer for the Virginia State Police. Press conference Tuesday evening.

Campbell then waded into a shallow section of the North River and walked to an island, where he was apprehended by officers from multiple agencies 35 minutes later, authorities said.

An image taken by the local Daily News-Record showed 10 officers pointing their guns at the shirtless suspect face down on the ground. The arresting officers had waded into the river after Campbell and arrested him without incident, police said.

The suspect was treated and released for a gunshot wound to an undisclosed area. Police were investigating whether the shot was fired by Painter, who was carrying a gun, or whether he was self-inflicted, Geller said.

JJ Jefferson, left, and John Painter, Bridgewater College security guards.
Bridgewater College

Campbell was charged with four felonies, including two counts of capital murder, and was being held without bond, police said. Investigators did not reveal if he was a college student and his motive was unclear.

Bridgewater College President David Bushman said Painter and Jefferson were close friends, known to many on campus as a “dynamic duo.” Jefferson was even Painter’s best man when he married this year, he said.

“It’s heartbreaking. It brings us all back. Right now we’re caught up in the moment making sure we take care of each other and most importantly take care of our students, the police and the security guards in our campuses and families involved in this,” Bushman said at the press conference. “We’ll take care of each other and that’s how we’ll get through this together.”

Alexander Wyatt Campbell, 27, is accused of opening fire on the officers.
Virginia State Police
An officer forms a perimeter on Airport Road South in Bridgewater, Va., Feb. 1, 2022.
An officer forms a perimeter on Airport Road South in Bridgewater, Va., Feb. 1, 2022.
Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record Via AP
bridgewater university shooter
Cops record the scene at Bridgewater College in Virginia on February 1, 2022.
PA
bridgewater university shooter
A suspect is taken into custody following a reported shooting on the campus of Bridgewater College in Virginia on Tuesday, February 1, 2022.
Daniel Lin/Daily News Record

Alex Hulleman, a student who was on campus during the shooting, told the local newspaper he heard numerous shots ring out before the officers were killed.

“We looked out the window and saw that two officers were down, and eventually they covered their bodies with sheets,” Hulleman, 21, said.

The student said he was in a classroom with around 20 other students when they heard “a bunch of gunshots” and immediately hit the ground.

Authorities are investigating the scene of the school shooting on the Bridgewater College campus.
Authorities are investigating the scene of the school shooting on the Bridgewater College campus.
Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record Via AP

“We heard moans, we heard people talking, a few people barricaded the door, we stood there for a while,” he said.

Bridgewater College told students to ‘shelter in place’ around 1.25pm ​​and wrote on Twitter: ‘This is not a test’.

About 40 minutes after the incident was reported on the college’s Twitter account, the school informed students that an individual had been taken into custody.

Police form a perimeter on Airport Road south of North River in Bridgewater, Virginia.
Bridgewater College has asked students taking shelter to follow police instructions.
Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record Via AP

“For additional security reasons, law enforcement officials will move around the buildings. Do not worry. listen to instructions from officers,” the school wrote about 20 minutes later.

At around 4:30 p.m., the school informed the students that the shelter-in-place order had been lifted and there was no longer a threat.

Classes were canceled on Wednesday as the investigation continued, Bushman said.



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Susan W. Lloyd