Two campus officers killed in shooting at Virginia college; suspect in custody

Antonio Planas, Jonathan Dienst and Tim Stelloh
A law enforcement officer takes cover in the area of Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia, February 1, 2022, in this still image obtained from social media.
Michael Souders | via Reuters

A suspected gunman was in custody after two campus officers were fatally shot at a private liberal arts college in Virginia on Tuesday, officials said.

In an email to students, faculty and staff, Bridgewater College President David Bushman identified the victims as police officer John Painter and safety officer J.J. Jefferson.

More from NBC News:

Coachella is selling lifetime passes as NFTs

TikTok users turn 'alpha male' podcasters into a viral joke

82 million people under winter weather alerts from Colorado to Vermont

"These officers were close friends, known to many of us as the 'dynamic duo,'" Bushman said. "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," he added.

A shelter in place was issued at the school, about 140 miles west of Washington, D.C., at 1:20 p.m. after "two officers had been shot and the armed suspect had fled the scene," Bridgewater College spokesperson Logan C. Bogert said earlier. The school was given the all-clear about three hours later.

The male shooter, who has not been identified, had been taken into custody by 1:55 p.m. after a "massive search," Bogert and the Virginia State Police said.

Nine different agencies, including the FBI, Virginia State police and campus police, responded.

In a series of tweets, Bridgewater College issued the warning shortly before 1:30 p.m.

"Reports of active shooter on campus. Shelter in place." A minute later the school tweeted, "This is not a test."

Shortly after 2 p.m. the college said an individual was in custody, but they continued to urge people to shelter in place.

Bridgewater College said the lockdown ended at 4:33 p.m., after about three hours.

"This is an all-clear notification. More information will come via campus email," the school tweeted.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he had been briefed on the situation.

NBC affiliate WAVY in Portsmouth, Virginia, reports Bridgwater has a student enrollment of about 1,800 undergraduate students.