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Pittsylvania County man allegedly murdered his mother, sister and her child

Sheriff Taylor said that in total, about 100 officers responded to the scene

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – After minor league pitcher Blake Bivens' family was killed in Pittsylvania County Tuesday, both his team, the Montgomery Biscuits, and the Tampa Bay Rays organization tweeted their condolences.

Bivens grew up in Danville and graduated from George Washington High School in 2014.

At 12:40 p.m. Tuesday, the Montgomery Biscuits tweeted this:

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays tweeted this:

At 7:12 p.m. Tuesday, the Montgomery Biscuits tweeted this:

Later that night, at 9:32 p.m. Tuesday, Central Blvd. Church of God posted this to Facebook.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.

Authorities say they have a triple homicide suspect in custody.

Matthew Bernard, 19, allegedly killed his mother, sister and her child, according to Matthew's uncle.

A neighbor told 10 News the suspect looked nervous and frightened. She said she saw the suspect run out from behind her house toward Keeling Baptist Church. She said he was naked and deputies tried pepper-spraying him, but, she said, he was unfazed. She said she saw him choke someone at the church. Deputies then hit him with batons and arrested him, she said.

UPDATE

On Tuesday afternoon, Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor addressed the media about the triple homicide on Keeling Drive.

A little after 8 a.m. a neighbor called 911, believing someone had been shot.

The first responding officer was at the scene within 12 minutes of that call.

While approaching the house, he found a woman's body in the driveway of the home.

Watch all of Sheriff Taylor's 2 p.m. news conference

The other two victims, a woman and a child, were found inside the home.

After determining the suspect was not home, the responding officer called for backup.

At 12:18 p.m., the suspect was arrested and Taylor said he did try to escape officers.

GALLERY: Pittsylvania County triple murder arrest

The Sheriff's Office has issued three warrants for first-degree murder, but have not yet served them.

At this time, Taylor said his office is withholding names of deceased until all family members have been talked to and spoken with.

In addition to members of the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office, law enforcement officers from Martinsville, Danville, Henry County, as well as Department of Corrections officers and Virginia State troopers assisted.

Taylor said that in total, about 100 officers responded to the scene.

ORIGINAL STORY

Authorities say they have a triple homicide suspect in custody.

Matthew Bernard, 19, allegedly killed his mother, sister, her child and a dog, according to Matthew's uncle.

The uncle says that Matthew's dad is still at the house.

The uncle said that Matthew is a student at Danville Community College who regularly attended church and everyone is surprised by what happened.

At the time of his arrest, at the Paradise Campground, which his family owns, Bernard was seen banging his head inside the police car.

Sheriff Michael Taylor earlier confirmed to WSLS 10 that Bernard was wanted for killing two women and a child.

While searching for him, Pittsylvania County Public Safety posted on Facebook that it was believed he was armed with a rifle and was last seen in the area of 1949 Keeling Drive in the Keeling community.

The eight Pittsylvania County schools that were on a Code Orange lockdown during the search are no longer on that lockdown.

The schools affected were:

  • Dan River High
  • Dan River Middle
  • Kentuck Elementary
  • Southside Elementary
  • Chatham Middle
  • Chatham High
  • Regional Alternative School
  • Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center
  • Authorities have not yet provided a picture of Bernard.

    Nearby schools in Halifax and Henry counties were never put on lockdown but school officials were monitoring the situation.


    About the Authors:

    Magdala Louissaint

    Magdala Louissaint is an award-winning journalist who joined WSLS 10 in July 2017 as the Lynchburg bureau reporter.

    Colter Anstaett

    Colter Anstaett joined WSLS in January 2016 as the station’s Southside bureau reporter.

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