The suspect in a triple homicide in the Keeling community was apprehended Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 12:18 p.m. after appearing between two homes naked on Keeling Drive.
According to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), Matthew Bernard, 19, was arrested and charged with three counts of first degree murder.
The names of the deceased have not been named.
Around 8:07 a.m. Tuesday, the sheriff’s office received a phone call regarding a body found in the driveway of the home at 1949 Keeling Drive.
Police arrived and found the body of a female in the driveway.
Upon further investigation by the sheriff’s office, the bodies of another woman and a child were found inside the residence.
“It’s a reminder of how fragile life is,” Sheriff Mike Taylor said during a press conference.
A perimeter was established in the area as authorities from Pittsylvania County, Henry County, Halifax County, and the Virginia State Police joined the search.
Around noon, the perimeter was moved back, and all news media at the request of the Virginia State Police were to locate at Keeling Baptist Church where another mobile command unit was going to stage.
At 12:15 p.m., a church member notified the media present about someone on Keeling Drive seeing a naked person in the nearby woods.
The media members got the attention of the trooper who was guarding the roadway.
His reply was, “I’ve got eyes on him.”
Bernard ran toward the trooper from between two homes.
The trooper then maced Bernard in the face, but it had no effect.
Bernard made a grunting sound as he charged toward the trooper.
Media members took cover briefly as the trooper placed his hand on his sidearm — he never drew it.
Bernard then ran across the parking lot towards the bystander and wrapped his arms around him.
The trooper then drew his baton to break Bernard free of the bystander.
Bernard then broke free of the bystander and ran back toward Keeling Drive.
The trooper stayed behind Bernard, who was met on Keeling Drive by law enforcement officials and a state police K-9.
Bernard tried once more to get away from the officers, but he was taken down and arrested.
Neighbor Katina Davis witnessed the scene at the church and said she was scared for her life.
A trial date has not been determined.