Suspect in Bridgewater College shooting was an alumnus, school says: NPR


Police are investigating after a shooting at Bridgewater College in Virginia on Tuesday.

Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record/ via AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record/ via AP

Suspect in Bridgewater College shooting was an alumnus, school says: NPR

Police are investigating after a shooting at Bridgewater College in Virginia on Tuesday.

Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record/ via AP

RICHMOND, Va. — A former private college student in Virginia was arraigned Wednesday for murder, a day after authorities announced he returned to his alma mater and killed two campus officers.

Police have identified the shooter in Tuesday’s shooting at Bridgewater College as 27-year-old Alexander Wyatt Campbell. A spokeswoman for the small liberal arts school about 200 kilometers northwest of Richmond said Campbell studied there from 2013 to 2017.

Campbell made his first appearance Wednesday in Harrisonburg/Rockingham General District Court.

WWBT-TV reported that Campbell appeared by videoconference for his arraignment and appeared to be restrained in a chair. Gene Hart, a judge-appointed attorney, requested that Campbell undergo a mental health evaluation. Hart declined to comment after the hearing.

Campbell’s mother, Cheryl Campbell, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that her son needed help.

“My son is mentally ill and he did something that I couldn’t control and no one could come and help him,” Campbell said in a newspaper interview on Wednesday. “I’m sorry for what happened. I couldn’t help it.”

“This is a very difficult time for Wyatt and his family and for the families he has touched,” she said in tears. “It’s not about gun control. It’s not. … It’s about mental illness and the fact that we have no control over it, the way society is right now. I can’t help my son.”

School President David W. Bushman identified the officers killed as Campus Police Officer John Painter, 55, and Campus Security Officer JJ Jefferson, 48. He said the campus mourns the loss of well-known and beloved officers. In a statement, Bushman said the two were known as “the dynamic duo” and that Painter was the best man at Jefferson’s wedding this year.

Suspect in Bridgewater College shooting was an alumnus, school says: NPR

Campus Security Officer JJ Jefferson, left, and Campus Police Officer John Painter were killed at Bridgewater College on Tuesday. Bridgewater President David W. Bushman said the two were known as “the dynamic duo” and that Painter was the best man at Jefferson’s wedding this year.

Matthew Cosner/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Matthew Cosner/AP

Suspect in Bridgewater College shooting was an alumnus, school says: NPR

Campus Security Officer JJ Jefferson, left, and Campus Police Officer John Painter were killed at Bridgewater College on Tuesday. Bridgewater President David W. Bushman said the two were known as “the dynamic duo” and that Painter was the best man at Jefferson’s wedding this year.

Matthew Cosner/AP

Virginia State Police said the shooting occurred shortly after campus officers responded to reports of a suspicious male on campus around 1:20 p.m. Tuesday. Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said after a brief interaction, the man opened fire on the officers, shot them and fled on foot. Both officers died instantly.

State and local law enforcement officers later joined the search and found the suspect off campus. He had waded in a river and was taken into custody on an island in the river, state police said. Police said multiple firearms were recovered as evidence both on and off campus.

Campbell was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Geller said it’s unclear if he received the injury in an exchange with police or if it was self-inflicted.

Authorities have so far offered no motive for the shooting.

“Two members of the Bridgewater College family have been taken from us in a senseless and violent way. The sadness is palpable. Words are far from enough to express the grief, sadness, fear and – quite rightly title – the anger we all feel,” Bushman said in a statement.

Logan Bogert, a spokesperson for Bridgewater College, said that while Campbell was a student at the school, he was on the track and cross country teams. His last known address was in Ashland. Campbell attended Patrick Henry High School in Ashland.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Wednesday ordered flags to be flown at half-mast across the state to honor the officers.

Bridgewater College has historically been affiliated with the Church of Brethren. It had an enrollment of about 1,500 full-time students as of fall 2021, according to its website.

Campbell’s next court appearance is scheduled for February 16.


npr

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button