Virginia Bridgewater College shooting: Gunman, 27, arrested after he fatally shoots 2 officers

Virginia Bridgewater College shooting: Gunman, 27, arrested after he fatally shoots 2 officers
Campus police officer John Painter (L) & Campus safety officer J.J. Jefferson (R) (Credits: Bridgewater college / Instagram) and suspect Alexander Wyatt Campbell (Rockingham County Jail)

BRIDGEWATER, VIRGINIA:  A shocking incident popped up from the Virginia state Bridgewater college where a gunman shot and killed two campus security officers prompting a protracted campus lockdown and search before the suspect was apprehended. The lockdown began in the early afternoon of February 1 when Bridgewater College officials sent out a tweet warning students and faculty about a shooter on campus.

Two campus security officers were shot and killed responding to a suspicious person call on Feb 1 afternoon at Virginia’s Bridgewater College. Virginia State Police said that college employees spotted a man “where he shouldn’t have been” shortly before 1:30 pm and called campus security. Police Officer John Painter and Safety Officer JJ Jefferson responded to the grounds of Memorial Hall, where they encountered the suspect.


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State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller responded to the situation, "After a brief interaction with the officials, the subject opened fire and shot both officers and fled the scene on foot. Several 911 calls reported the shots fired, and multiple agencies responded to campus. In a short time, investigators spotted a man who matched the suspect’s description off campus and immediately took him into custody without incident. Campbell was apprehended about 30 minutes later on an island after wading through the North River. Photos showed about ten law enforcement officers rushing in to arrest Campbell, who was shirtless and lying face down on the ground.  


The suspect was identified as 27-year-old Alexander Wyatt Campbell. He was found with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound and was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. Campbell has been charged with two counts of capital murder, one count of first degree murder, and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The suspect accused of shooting on the campus of Bridgewater College attended the school from 2013 to 2017 and was on the track and field team, according to a spokesperson for the school.  It's unclear if he graduated. 

Geller said that the investigation uncovered “multiple firearms associated with Campbell” on campus, but provided no further information. Investigators are working to determine if Campbell was shot by Painter — Jefferson, as safety officer, was not issued a firearm — or if it was self-inflicted, she said.

Later the same day a statement was released by the president of Bridgewater college David W Bushman who identified the two security personnel who were shot and mourned the death of his well-loved officers. Saying the pair was known as “the dynamic duo,” the statement noted that Painter was the best man at Jefferson’s wedding this year. “Two members of the Bridgewater College family were senselessly and violently taken from us. The sadness is palpable. Words are not adequate, not nearly so, to express the grief, sadness, fear and — justifiably — the anger we all feel,” Bushman added. Indeed, Bushman stated this as an unbearable loss for the college and its unwavering legacy.

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