BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WRIC) — Alexander Wyatt Campbell of Ashland has been identified as the man suspected of shooting and killing two officers on the Bridgewater College campus this afternoon.
Bridgewater College President Dr. David Bushman and Virginia State Police Public Information Officer Corinne Geller addressed the public following a double fatal shooting on the college campus this afternoon.
The shooting resulted in the death of Campus Police Officer John Painter and Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson, who the college said were close friends known on campus as the “dynamic duo.” They both died on campus despite efforts from first responders.
After the shots were fired, the campus was sent into lockdown as law enforcement officers from several agencies worked to apprehend the shooter.
At the briefing, Virginia State Police identified the suspect as 27-year-old Campbell. He has been charged with two felony counts of capital murder, one felony count of first degree murder and one felony count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Bridgewater College confirmed with 8News that Campbell attended the school from 2013 to 2017. He was a student athlete there.
On Tuesday, Geller said that Campus Police Officer Painter and Campus Safety Officer Jefferson responded to a call regarding a suspicious man at Bridgewater College’s Memorial Hall.
There was a brief interaction between the suspect, Campbell, and the two officers before state police say Campbell opened fire. Both officers were shot and killed.
According to Geller, a 911 call immediately prompted a response from several law enforcement agencies. The officers began searching for the suspect right away. Law enforcement located a man that matched the shooter description nearby on Riverside Drive.
State Police said the suspect then waded through the North River and onto an island where law enforcement officers brought him into custody without any more incidents. The officers also went through the water to reach the island.
State police said that when officers arrested Campbell, he was suffering a non-life threatening gunshot wound. It is unclear if he shot himself or if Campus Police Officer John Painter had fired his weapon. Geller explained that none of the other responding officers had fired their weapons and Campus Safety Officers do not carry a weapon.
Following the arrest, police said they recovered multiple firearms that were in Campbell’s possession.
Campbell is being held at Rockingham County Jail without bond.
According to Virginia court documents, he was previously found guilty of trespassing after being forbidden in 2017. He was sentenced to 20 days behind bars and a year of unsupervised probation.
At the press briefing Tuesday evening, Bridgewater College President Dr. David Bushman thanked elected officials and other educational institutions for their support following the deaths of the officers.
Bushman said the incident was tragic and heartbreaking.
“Our anguish is felt so deeply because the entire Bridgewater College community is a family too. And that will be our greatest strength in the days and weeks ahead,” Bushman said.
Bushman said that all classes are cancelled on Wednesday.
State police are asking that anyone with information, pictures or video of the incident contact Virginia State Police at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the briefing, Geller said the incident was an isolated event.
The full press briefing can be viewed below: