PHOTOS: Naked man charged in triple murder in Virginia

State - Regional

Police attempt to subdue the suspect in a triple murder in Pittsylvania County. Photo courtesy of the Chatham Star-Tribune newspaper. (Photo used with permission.)

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA (WFXR) – An 18-year-old man has been charged with three courts of first degree murder in Pittsylvania County after the deaths of two women and a child.

Police first received a 911 call at 8 a.m. Tuesday reporting that a person had been shot at 1949 Keeling Drive in Pittsylvania County. When officers arrived on scene, they found a woman dead in the driveway of the home. After entering the residence, police discovered the bodies of a second woman and a child. The victims have not been named pending notification of next of kin.

Pittsylvania County authorities issued an alert as they searched for 18-year-old Mathew Bernard around 10 a.m. Tuesday, warning that he was considered armed very dangerous. This prompted the lock down of several schools in the area.

By 12:18 p.m., Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor said a suspect had been taken into custody though he never named Bernard as the suspect during a press conference. He was charged late Tuesday with three counts of first degree murder. Bernard was taken into custody less than a mile from the scene of the crime.

Mathew Bernard has been charged with three counts of first degree murder. Photo via WFXR.

Photos captured by the Chatham Star-Tribune show Bernard naked and unarmed when he was captured after attacking a groundskeeper at Keeley Baptist Church.

A motive is not yet known for the murders.

“We won’t go into the whys because we don’t know yet,” Taylor told reporters. “We are trying to figure that out ourselves.”

He said officers were on the scene about 10 to 12 minutes after the first call to 911. More than 100 officers responded to the scene from numerous agencies.

News13’s sister station WFXR also reports that the wife and child of a Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher are beleived to be among the victims of the murder.

ESPN baseball writer Jeff Passan tweeted that the wife and child of Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Blake Bivens were among those killed in Tuesday’s Pittsylvania County triple murder. Bivens grew up in nearby Sutherlin.

Bivens’ team, the Montgomery Biscuits, canceled today’s doubleheader due to what they are calling “a tragic event” within their baseball family.

A tweet from the team’s CEO & Managing Owner Lou DiBella said, “The Biscuits’ thoughts and prayers are with Blake and all those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

The team is asking for privacy for Bivens and his family at this time.


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