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Memorial service for officers killed at Bridgewater College draws thousands

Flags placed over coffins
Flags are placed over the coffins of officers John Painter and J.J. Jefferson. (Screenshot from livestream)

Randi B. Hagi with WMRA in Harrisonburg reported this story.

More than 3,000 people, including Gov. Glenn Youngkin, attended Wednesday's memorial service honoring the officers killed at Bridgewater College last week.

Bagpipes opened the ceremony in Harrisonburg honoring fallen officers John Painter and J.J. Jefferson, who were shot and killed at Bridgewater College on February 1st. Family, friends, and colleagues took turns eulogizing the two men. Pastor Michael Miller spoke about Jefferson.

"One half of a dynamic duo, a best friend, and he was a loving, adoring husband," Miller said.

And Jefferson's friend, Brian Fox, sang for him.

Painter's daughter Courtney read a poem.

"When I hear about a hero, and the great things they have done, it reminds me of my father. He is the greatest one," she said.

Timberville Police Chief J.R. Dodd reflected on how Painter ran the Grottoes Police Department before retiring.

"He loved his officers. He loved his job. He loved his community. And in spite of his title, he was always humble," Dodd said.

Two Air Force Honor Guardsmen folded the American flag over Painter's coffin; officers from the Virginia State Police, Harrisonburg Police Department, and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office did the same for Jefferson. Then the "dynamic duo" were issued their last radio call.

"Final call for unit 3118 and 316. May you rest in peace."

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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