Bridgewater College

2 Officers Shot and Killed at Bridgewater College; Suspect in Custody

The campus was locked down for several hours

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Two officers were killed in a shooting at Bridgewater College that prompted a lockdown of the campus in the Shenandoah Valley, according to the school's president.

A suspect is in custody, Virginia State Police said.

An email sent to Bridgewater College students by school President Dr. David Bushman confirmed Bridgewater College Campus Police Officer John Painter and Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson were shot and killed Tuesday afternoon. 

The email says, in part, "This is a sad and dark day for Bridgewater College. I know we all have so many questions and not many answers."

The officers responded to a report of a suspicious man at Memorial Hall, state police said. After a brief interaction with him, he shot both officers.

A man matching the description of the shooter was found on Riverside Drive in Bridgewater, state police said. He waded through the North River onto an island where Harrisonburg police, Rockingham County sheriff's deputies and Virginia State Police special agents took him into custody.

The suspect, 27-year-old Alexander Wyatt Campbell, was suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, state police said. It’s unclear if he was shot by a Bridgewater College officer or if it was self-inflicted.

Alexander Wyatt Campbell
Rockingham County Jail
Alexander Wyatt Campbell

He was treated at Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

Police recovered multiple firearms associated with Campbell as evidence.

The school locked down before 1:30 p.m., advising people to shelter in place.

Officers searched every building on the campus.

The all-clear notification was given shortly after 4:30 p.m.

Virginia State Police charged Campbell with two counts of capital murder, one count of first-degree murder, and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, state police said. He is being held without bond.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin ordered the U.S. and Virginia flags be flown at half-staff on all local, state and federal buildings and grounds in the commonwealth.

“My heart is broken tonight by the tragic loss of two officers at Bridgewater College today," he said in a statement. "These officers were dedicated to protecting the students and faculty of the college.”

Bridgewater is a private liberal arts college 8 miles southwest of Harrisonburg. About 1,500 students take classes there.

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