A gunman fatally shot a police officer and a safety officer on the campus of Bridgewater University in Virginia Tuesday afternoon after they responded to a report of a suspicious person near a police station, authorities said. buildings on campus, authorities said.
The attacker, identified by Virginia State Police as 27-year-old Alexander Wyatt Campbell, shot two officers at about 1:20 p.m. after university staff called police after being startled by him, Corinne Geller, a police spokesman, said in a news summary on Tuesday night. The officers died on campus.
Mr. Campbell ran off and waded across a river, where he ended up on a small island, Ms. Geller said. He was arrested at 1:55 p.m. after a “major search operation” involving local, state and federal law enforcement officials, the university said in a statement.
Ms Geller added he sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound, although it is unclear if it was self-inflicted or he was shot by a university police officer. shoot. He was taken to hospital and then transferred to Rockingham County Jail, where he was held without bail on two counts of murder and related charges.
Ms. Geller would not say whether Mr. Campbell, whose last known address was in Ashland, Va., was a student, but noted that authorities had recovered the gun “in connection with the gun” he.”
In an email sent at 5:04 p.m. to students and faculty, David Bushman, the university’s president, identified the victims as John Painter, a police officer, and JJ Jefferson, an employee safety officer on campus. “They are often seen as a ‘dynamic duo,'” Mr. Bushman said. “John was JJ’s best man at his wedding this year,” he added.
“This is a sad and dark day for Bridgewater College,” Mr. Bushman said. “I know we all have a lot of questions and not many answers. One thing I do know, however, is that we will rally together and support each other as we move forward from this day forward. “
The university, about 40 miles northwest of Charlottesville, has asked those on campus to shelter in place until it issues clear notice at 4:33 pm
In a text message Tuesday night, Officer Painter’s nephew Jacob Painter said, “He’s a hero of all heroes.” The officer’s brother, Andy Painter, said in a text message, “If he had known how his life was going to end this morning, he would still have gotten up and put on his uniform.”
Officer Jefferson’s wife declined to comment.
Alex Hulleman, 21, an exercise science major, said in a phone interview Tuesday night that he was in class at the school’s Flory Hall on Tuesday afternoon when he suddenly heard gunfire.
“We all immediately fell to the floor,” he said, adding that two people were leaning against the classroom door while his professor called 911.
After a while, Mr. Hulleman said, the professor looked out the window and saw that two officers had been shot.
“It was pretty gruesome,” he said, adding that sheets were then placed over the bodies.
When the officers’ names were released, Mr. Hulleman said, his classmates had a feeling of disbelief that Officers Jefferson and Painter had been shot. They are “two of the nicest people on campus,” he said.
“It was almost unbelievable for us,” he said. “They always greet people, always greet people – wonderful, excellent citizens.”
Mr. Hulleman said he and his classmates stayed in the classroom until about 4 p.m., when they were allowed to leave.
“It was pretty intense for the first few minutes and hours after that,” he says. “Things have calmed down now. We’re just working it out, and we’re all just talking to each other and supporting each other. “
Officers Jefferson and Painter are the sixth and seventh officers to be killed by firearms in the line of duty this year in the United States, according to the Brotherhood National Police Order.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said above Twitter on Tuesday night that he was “deeply saddened” by the shooting, adding, “Gun violence is a catastrophic epidemic.”
As of the fall semester of 2021, approximately 1,500 full-time undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at Bridgewater, according to University.
Sheelagh McNeill research contributions.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/us/bridgewater-college-shooting-virginia.html Two officers killed at Bridgewater College in Virginia