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2 officers killed; 1 person in custody at Bridgewater College

2 officers killed; 1 person in custody at Bridgewater College
Posted at 2:03 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 23:26:57-05

BRIDGEWATER, Va. -- Two officers were killed after an active shooter was reported on the campus of Bridgewater College, near Harrisonburg, Virginia on Tuesday afternoon.

The two victims have been identified as Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson and Campus Police Officer John Painter.

2 officers killed; 1 person in custody at Bridgewater College
Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson (left) and Campus Police Officer John Painter (right) have been identified as the victims in a shooting at Bridgewater College on Tuesday, February 1.

One suspect is in custody at this time. The suspect was taken into police custody by 1:55 p.m. The lockdown was lifted at the college just after 4:30 p.m.

According to Virginia State Police, the initial report came in that a Bridgewater College Campus Law Enforcement Officer and a Campus Safety Officer had been shot and the armed suspect had fled the scene.

Bridgewater College sent out the following note to the campus community on Tuesday following the incident:

Today our campus community experienced unspeakable tragedy. 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.

Campus Police Officer John Painter and Campus Safety Officer J.J. Jefferson were shot and killed on campus while protecting us. These officers were close friends, known to many of us as the "dynamic duo". John was J.J.'s best man in his wedding this year. They were beloved by students, faculty and staff. I hurt for their families and loved ones, as I know we all do.

This is a sad and dark day for Bridgewater College. I know we all have so many questions and not many answers. One thing I do know, though, is that we will rally around one another and support each other as we move forward from this day. We are all victims, though some much more so than others, and it will be important that we each seek to find comfort and support in the ways most meaningful for us.

The initial campus alert was sent at about 1:24 p.m.

About 2,000 students attend Bridgewater College.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin shared the following statement in response to the shooting on Tuesday evening:

My heart is broken tonight by the tragic loss of two officers at Bridgewater College today. These officers were dedicated to protecting the students and faculty of the college and I have ordered that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia be flown at half-staff tomorrow to honor their memory and courageous efforts. The First Lady and I ask Virginians to keep their family, friends, and the Bridgewater community in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Youngkin also ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff at all local, state and federal buildings and grounds in Virginia in "respect and memory of the officers lost in the February 1st tragedy at Bridgewater College".

Flags will be lowered at sunrise on Wednesday and will remain at half-staff until sunset.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares shared the following message on Twitter on Tuesday evening:

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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