Lockdown One

Members of law enforcement and the Farmville Town Council stand united to announce a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved with two seperate shootings, which they believe to be connected.

Last Tuesday afternoon, members of the Farmville town government with campus and community law enforcement stood alongside a representative from the Richmond Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to announce a $5,000 reward for information about what they believe is a pair of related shootings. 

The Town of Farmville and ATF are each contributing $2,500 (totaling $5,000) to fund the reward, according to an announcement during the conference from Farmville Chief of Police Andy Ellington. According to a press release given to The Rotunda before the conference, law enforcement agencies are looking for two suspects who were each described as black males who appear to be within the ages of 18-30.

“To say these incidents are disturbing is an understatement, and we have a zero tolerance policy for such violence in this town,” said Ellington. “If you have information on who may be involved, please come forward contact your police department and help us solve this crime. The results of these two shootings could have been so much worse, and individuals responsible need to be stopped.”

ATF Resident Agent in charge of the case Scott Fulkerson said, “We are asking for the public's assistance in finding these people responsible for this shootings, and folks, this is your community, that’s why we are asking for your assistance. The one thing we can be confident in is that with the public's assistance, the investigators involved in this case can bring those people to justice and additionally prevent any of these future shootings from occurring.”

Also present was Farmville Town Mayor, and former Longwood University graduate David Whitus who asked for the public’s assistance in solving this case and strongly encouraged anyone with information to come forward, saying the incidents are of “great concern” for the community.

In an exclusive interview with The Rotunda after the conference, Ellington said investigators had been concerned with the lack of information given from individuals involving the incidents.

“Nobody seems to want to cooperate with law enforcement, and that’s very alarming to us,” said Ellington.  

The most recent incident took place on January 12 outside of the McDonald’s restaurant, located at 306 South Main Street in Farmville, where at approximately 9:12 p.m. authorities responded to a call of shots fired. According to a press release, no one was injured, but two vehicles were damaged in the shooting. In the aftermath of the incident, witnesses said they saw several black males running south on Main Street. 

Per an January 13 article from The Farmville Herald, authorities were eventually able to arrest Javon Rashad Brooks, 19, of Farmville, as was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and reckless handling of a firearm, both class one misdemeanors, and will have his hearing date on February 10 in the Prince Edward County General District Court, according to public record.  

 

According to Longwood University Police Department (LUPD) Chief of Police Col. Robert Beach, Brooks was found “probably an hour or so” after the incident took place, in a wooded area behind the Pino’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in Farmville. 

Authorities believe this month’s shooting is related to incident that took place nearly a month before, on December 16, 2019, while students of Longwood University were on winter break. That shooting took place at approximately 9:30 p.m. at the Days Inn hotel, located at 2015 South Main Street in Farmville, where, according to a press release, multiple shots were fired from multiple firearms, one of which grazed an individual, and caused damage to three vehicles. 

While LUPD responded to both scenes, the McDonalds’s shooting caused law enforcement to take immediate action in response to the Longwood University campus. Beach said due to the males who fled from the scene, coupled with their last-seen course on foot, which was towards the Curry and Frazer residence halls, authorities had verified and credible information that there were possibly armed persons on the campus. 

In response, Longwood University entered a Threat Level Alert One: Code Red condition at 9:38 p.m. According to a policy from the Environmental Health and Safety officea level one alert “poses an imminent and severe risk of danger to the safety and security of the campus community and may result in a campus closure or building lockdown.” LUPD will then take an array of measures including a siren and voice alert, text messages along with emails detailing the situation and also activate the Longwood Crisis and Emergency Communication website, according to the policy. 

The next step, according to Beach, is to use the LUPD staff and other law enforcement to secure the campus, which means they are looking to apprehend the suspects and remove the persons or any other possible threat from campus. 

“When you have a campus this size and you have any in our society and our culture, an open community with people coming and going and so forth in open areas, you know, (it would) be nice if, like we’d had during the (U.S. Vice Presidential) debate, we had a big fence that we could just lock all the gates and keep everybody in and out, okay, but that’s not the way it is,” said Beach. 

He said securing the campus is a “trained and methodical process” to move through and make sure the imminent threat of harm is eliminated. 

After receiving five text and email alerts throughout the situation, at 11:10 p.m. the Longwood University campus community received a notification that said the campus had been secured. 

Beach said the university has learned a lot since the incident involving a man with a gun in the Longwood Village in January 2019 as far as keeping the campus community alerted of the developments in the situation and which level of alert to place the campus under. “We’ve learned by that, we have a great protocol in place of how that is going to work,” he said. 

Beach joins local and regional law enforcement representatives when he said even the smallest bits of information are vital in a police investigation, and there are hopes the reward will attract those who have information to come forward. He added for students to be not be fearful in this situation, but rather to be “vigilant” and if they see something that seems wrong in a particular instance to call LUPD at {434-395-2091} or use the LiveSafe app. 

The Rotunda will continue to update this story. Follow us on Twitter (@longwoodrotunda) and Facebook (longwood.rotunda) for news and live coverage. 

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