Wife, child of former West Virginia minor league player among 3 murdered

US & World

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (NEXSTAR) – Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer Blake Bivens wife and child are among three killed, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Bivens is also a former player for the Princeton Rays, a West Virginia-based minor league baseball team affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Passan reports police in Virginia have charged Bivens’ wife’s brother with first-degree homicide. Mathew Bernard, 19, was considered armed and very dangerous when police issued an alert to the public Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

By 12:18 p.m., Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor said a suspect had been taken into custody though he never mentioned Bernard by name during a press conference.

According to Taylor, he was taken into custody less than a mile from the scene of the crime.

Bernard was naked and unarmed when he was captured after attacking a groundskeeper at Keeley Baptist Church.

A motive is not yet known for the murders and Taylor would not release names of the victims.

“We won’t go into the whys because we don’t know yet,” Taylor told reporters. “We are trying to figure that out ourselves.”

He said officers were on the scene about 10 to 12 minutes after the first call to 911. The first officer on the scene located the victims upon arrival and then called for backup.

In total, 100 officers responded from numerous agencies.

Taylor said three schools were placed on lockdown: Dan River Elementary School, Dan River Middle School, and Dan River High School.

Danville Community College was also placed on lockdown because Bernard is a student there. According to Danville Police, there was no threat related to this incident or to any location the suspects has ties to in Danville.

Bivens, a pitcher for the Rays affiliate the Montgomery Biscuits abruptly canceled Tuesday night’s game.

The team sent out a social media announcement that provided limited details other than that it had experienced “a tragic event within the Biscuits family.”

The team asked for privacy and said it will provide “update when it’s appropriate.”

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