Bridgewater, Virginia (WRIC) – Family members of a police campus who were killed at Bridgewater College are contemplating a terrible loss.
John Painter was a police officer at Bridgewater College when he was shot dead by an active shooter earlier this month. The tragedy also killed campus security officer J. J. Jefferson.
On Tuesday, February 1, Jacob Painter, John’s nephew, prayed that his uncle would not work the usual 12-hour shift at the college. Painter said he was in a group chat that day and was receiving text messages from his friends.
“My friend told me there was an active shooter in Bridgewater. It never even resonated with any of them. The first thing that came to my mind was: do you know that my uncle works there?
Painter said he received word that two officers had been killed, and denied that one could have been his uncle.
Only after a heartfelt phone call with his father did he learn that his uncle was gone.
Painter described his uncle as a family man and said he loved them all, including his daughter, whom his uncle called “strong.” The family gathered for dinner on Sundays.
“He didn’t even realize he was helping them when he was helping them. He just took care of all the people and he always smiled and laughed. “I’ve never seen him mad,” Painter said.
They had a very close relationship, and Painter said John always supported him, especially his music. He said his uncle would tell everyone about his nephew’s band Soul Cry.
“He thought I was like a guitarist god or something,” Painter said. “He would just send me these songs. I say, dude, I’m fine. I’m mediocre Uncle John and not so good yet. I’ll try it for you. “
According to Painter, the late colleague of his uncle Washon “JJ” Jefferson even gave him a drum set for $ 2,500.
At the memorial service for the slain officers on Wednesday, February 9, Painter wrote a song for his uncle, which he sang with his brother.
Painter said his uncle helped teach him to fish and hunt. At home, they also rode ATVs together. He added that John loved his job because he loved helping people.
“If you had called him that morning and said that’s what will happen. You and JJ are going to give their lives to save hundreds and maybe even thousands of students. They would put on their uniforms and go to work immediately. ”
Painter said the legacy of the officers would live on forever.
The suspect in this case, Alexander Uyat Campbell, has been charged with several counts, including murder. Campbell is due back in court on May 18.