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Suspect in Pittsylvania Co. triple homicide is in custody for three first-degree murders

Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, has been arrested on three counts of first-degree murder.{ } (Pittsylvania County Police Department)
Matthew Thomas Bernard, 18, has been arrested on three counts of first-degree murder. (Pittsylvania County Police Department)
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UPDATE: 7:42 p.m.

Police confirm that 18-year-old Bernard is being treated at a local medical facility.


UPDATE: 6:34 p.m

Pittsylvania County Police Department has arrested Bernard on three counts of first-degree murder.

Police say when they arrived at the home, they found a woman dead in the driveway of the residence. When police entered the home, they found another woman and a child dead.

At approximately 12:15 PM this date Bernard ran from a wooded area and law enforcement were able to get Bernard into custody, police said.

The names of the victims are being held until family members are notified.

The three victims will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Roanoke to determine the cause and manner of death.

Investigators are still on-scene collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses.


UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.

The sheriff's office provided updates at a press conference.

Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor said the names of the victims won't be released until next of kin can be notified.

Taylor said three first degree murder warrants have been issued, but they have not been served.

The victims' bodies will be taken to the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke for an autopsy.

Sheriff Taylor said there is no longer an immediate threat to the community.


UPDATE: 12:20 p.m.

Virginia State Police confirm that 19-year-old Matthew Bernard is in custody.

ABC 13's Kyle Wilcox was standing in the media staging area when Bernard ran past reporters, attacked a church groundskeeper by putting his hands around his neck, and a police officer chased him down the street after macing him and hitting him with a nightstick to no avail.

He was taken into custody after running toward the homicide scene and officers.

The video shows that Bernard was naked.

Public safety officials said Keeling Drive was closed for a short time.

The lockdown at the schools has been lifted.

The Danville Police Department said there was a lockdown at Danville Community College because Bernard is a student there. At this time there is no threat related to this incident to any location the suspect had ties in Danville, police said.

There will be a press conference at 2 p.m.


UPDATE: 10:50 a.m.

The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office said 19-year-old Matthew Bernard is the suspect in a triple homicide.

A 911 call came in around 8 a.m. Tuesday, August 27 on Keeling Drive where officers found three people dead at a home; two females and a child. The sheriff's office said the suspect and the victims are related.

A neighbor found one person dead in the driveway and after further investigation, they found another adult and the child dead inside the home.

The sheriff's office said Bernard took off into the woods.

Several schools are on lockdown and will be on lockdown until the scene is cleared, the sheriff's office said.

Dan River High School, Dan River Middle School, Kentuck Elementary School, Southside Elementary School, Chatham Middle School, Chatham High School, Regional Alternative School and the Pittsylvania Career and Technical Center were placed on Code Orange.

Code Orange means exterior doors and teachers' classroom doors remain locked, students are not permitted to go outside and administration monitors hallways and entrances.

The sheriff's office is working on providing a photo of the suspect.

They have K9 officers helping with the search of Bernard. The area of Keeling Drive is closed and officials are not letting anyone down the road.


PITTSLYLVANIA Co., Va. (WSET) -- Citizens in the Keeling area of Pittsylvania County are asked to be on the lookout for an armed and dangerous man.

There is a heavy police presence at Keeling Drive where authorities have their weapons drawn.

Pittsylvania County Public Safety told citizens to be on the lookout for 19-year-old Matthew Bernard.

Bernard is a white male and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. He was last seen in the area of 1949 Keeling Drive in the Keeling community.

They said he's armed with a rifle and should be considered very dangerous.

If you see him, call 911 immediately. Do not try to approach him.

Citizens in this area should exercise caution and be on the lookout for this individual until further notice.

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