Procession along I-81 held for two officers killed in line of duty

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 5:34 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WVIR) - The remains of two officers killed in the line of duty are now back home in Bridgewater. A procession along Interstate 81 stretched 100 miles from Roanoke to Rockingham County Thursday, February 3.

The remains of Bridgewater Campus Police Officer John Painter and Security Officer J.J. Jefferson have been returned from Roanoke’s Medical Examiner’s Office.

Painter and Jefferson were shot and killed Tuesday when responding to a report of a suspicious man on Bridgewater College’s campus.

During the procession, dozens of law enforcement officers from across the commonwealth followed, with many paying respects by stopping on bridges or on the side of the road.

Students at Bridgewater said the two officers were known and loved by many. Painter and Jefferson were called a “dynamic duo,” and were close friends. Painter was Jefferson’s best man in his wedding.

Now, the community is rallying together to remember the officers. The college has announced that it’s establishing a fund in memory of them called the “John Painter and J.J. Jefferson Memorial Student Support Fund.”

Campus police will decide how funds will be used to honor Painter and Jefferson’s memory. There was also a GoFundMe created to support any celebration of life events, with a goal of $50,000. As of Thursday afternoon, more than $100,000 had been raised.

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