PITTSYLVANIA CO., Va. (CBS Local) — A naked man wanted in connection with a triple homicide that left the wife, child and mother-in-law of pitcher Blake Bivens in the Tampa Bay Rays organization dead was arrested Tuesday, according to authorities in rural Virginia.
Matthew Thomas Bernard, 19, was taken into custody on three counts of first-degree murder following a three-hour manhunt that shut down schools and roads on Tuesday, Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office investigator Devin Taylor said in a statement.
Before he was arrested, Bernard ran naked from behind a house past reporters in a media staging area, all captured on camera by Virginia TV station WSET-TV.
The video showed him attacking a church groundskeeper by putting his hands around his neck as police tried to take him into custody.
NAKED MURDER SUSPECT: Police had to use mace and a stun gun to get the suspect in the murders of two females and a child into handcuffs, and ultimately clothing.https://t.co/AtXCfLBcRp
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) August 28, 2019
A police officer chased Bernard down the street after pepper spraying him and hitting him with a nightstick.
Officers using a K-9 finally caught up with Bernard when he ran from a wooded area. He was reportedly taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Bernard is accused of killing his sister, mother and one-year-old nephew at a home in Keeling, an unincorporated area in Pittsylvania County.
A neighbor discovered one person dead in the driveway Tuesday morning. After further investigation, officers found another adult and a child dead inside the home.
The victims identities and details about the circumstances of their deaths were not immediately released. Earlier in the day, authorities had asked citizens to be on the lookout for Bernard, advising that he was armed with a rifle and “very dangerous.”
The victims are the wife, child and mother-in-law of Bivens, 24, a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Minor League team, the Montgomery Biscuits.
Montgomery Biscuits abruptly cancelled Tuesday night’s game. CEO Lou DiBella tweeted a statement later Tuesday night.
A statement from CEO & Managing Owner, Lou DiBella. pic.twitter.com/Uocm0juKb7
— Montgomery Biscuits (@BiscuitBaseball) August 28, 2019
“We appreciate the outpouring of support and concern, but ask that you respect the privacy of the family during this difficult time,” DiBella wrote.