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Shootings Shock Virginia Campuses

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by Edgard Lacayo

Two recent shootings near or on college campuses have shaken both the local communities and the nation. Both shootings occurred at or near Virginia universities, which has struck a chord with the Roanoke College community. On February 1st, a gunman opened fire on the campus of Bridgewater College, a small liberal arts college much like Roanoke College. The incident occurred when two campus police officers responded to reports of a suspicious man at the edge of campus. The suspicious man was former student, Alexander Wyatt Campbell. It appears he was startled by officers John Painter and Vashon Jefferson. Both officers were shot by Campbell, who later fled the scene on foot but was shortly apprehended by law enforcement. The death of both officers has come as a shock to the Bridgewater community, as they were beloved by the community and were described as being close friends and a dynamic duo.  The officers have been memorialized by the school and community, Governor Youngkin even ordered flags across the state to be flown at half staff on Wednesday to honor the officers. Campbell, on the other hand, has been arrested and is being charged with murder of a law enforcement officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, first-degree murder, and two charges of aggravated murder. He currently awaits a mental health evaluation as it is believed he suffers from mental health issues. His mother has come forward saying that he is a mentally ill individual. 

On February 4th, another shooting occurred at the Melody Hookah Lounge in downtown Blacksburg. The shooting left one dead and four wounded. Despite the shooting not taking place on campus, it served as a shock to the community and among the wounded was a Virginia Tech student. Police have not been able to provide a motive for the shooting and have shifted the investigation to a homicide investigation. The hookah bar was reserved for a private party when the shooting happened. Law enforcement officials and the university have respected the privacy of the wounded and have not released their names to the public. Virginia Tech officials have stated that the injured student is in recovery and doing fine. The shooter has been identified as Jamel Flint of Roanoke, who has since been arrested and is being held at the Western Virginia Regional Jail, according to WDBJ (2022). The one individual who was killed was Isaiah Robinson of Roanoke who was a student at Patrick Henry High School. Flint has been arraigned on six charges, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and using a firearm in a felony. Flint will make his next appearance in court in mid-April.