The Bridgewater College in Virginia went into lockdown for several hours after two campus police officers, fondly known in the community as the “dynamic duo,” were shot and killed. A 27-year-old suspect has been taken into custody.
In a statement, the Virginia State Police said multiple enforcement agencies responded to the scene at approximately 1.20 p.m. Tuesday after “a report of an active shooter on the Bridgewater College campus.”
Police added that a “massive search operation” was conducted immediately before the shooter was taken into custody at 1.55 p.m. A shelter-in-place order was issued shortly after the shooting was reported and lasted through 4.30 p.m.
Bridgewater College President David Bushman wrote in an email to the college community that campus police officer John Painter and safety officer J.J. Jefferson, who were “known to many of us as the ‘dynamic duo,’” were killed in the shooting, local newspaper the Daily News-Record reported. “These officers were close friends,” Bushman wrote.
Bushman also said in a statement that Painter and Jefferson “were beloved by students, faculty and staff,” 7 News reported.
A photo released by the News-Record showed what appeared to be the apprehension of a suspect in the shooting. The suspect can be seen shirtless and face-down on the ground. The FBI and eight other agencies joined in the manhunt for the suspect.
In a late Tuesday update regarding the campus shooting, the Virginia State Police revealed that a “man fitting the shooter’s description was located on Riverside Drive” in Bridgewater, adding that the suspect, identified as Alexander Wyatt Campbell, 27, suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
Campbell was treated at the Rockingham Memorial Hospital, but investigators are still trying to determine whether the suspect was shot by a campus officer or if he shot himself, the Virginia State Police said.
Senior student at the college, Caleb Needle, told WSHV that he heard three to four loud bangs while he was in class, adding that he and his classmates “dropped to the floor” and “barricaded ourselves” as they waited for help to arrive.
Campbell has been charged with one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, one count of first-degree murder, and two counts of capital murder. He is now being held without bond at the Rockingham County jail.
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