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A shooting Thursday afternoon at a Forest home, that caused four schools and several businesses to go on lockdown, is continuing into the evening, according to Bedford Sheriff Mike Brown.
The lockdowns were lifted in the area around 3:30 p.m., but area residents should continue to be careful, Brown said at a news conference Thursday.
“Just take precautions,” he said. He said if anyone suspicious is spotted, residents should immediately call 911. He added that residents should keep their cars and homes locked.
Investigators with the Sheriff's Office were at the hospital with the victim of the shooting, Marshall Patterson, of 1591 Mays Mill Rd. Brown said Patterson was shot in the chest, apparently with a small-caliber weapon.
Brown said 911 dispatch received two calls from Patterson asking for rescue around 1:34 p.m. In those calls, he said he had been shot in his driveway near the back door of his home.
Because of the home's close proximity to several schools, as well as Teva Pharmaceuticals, the lockdown was implemented at four Bedford County Schools: Jefferson Forest High School, Forest Elementary School, Forest Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary. The lockdown was implemented at 2 p.m. at the first three schools and at 2:40 p.m. at TJES. Buses began to pick up students once the lockdown had been lifted.
Brown said investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms as well as troopers with the Virginia State Police were helping with the investigation as well as providing security at the schools during the lockdown. He said additional deputies had also been added to events at the schools Thursday evening.
“It was a textbook type operation,” he said of implementing the lockdowns at the schools. Brown added that the school resource officers at the schools were able to quickly work with the school administrations to take the needed steps.
Brown said Patterson, who apparently was not taken into surgery after being transported to Lynchburg General Hospital, was being cooperative with Sheriff's Office investigators at the hospital. According to Brown, Patterson said a muscular black male, with a black shirt, blue jean shorts and a black stocking cap, came out of the woods by his home, shot him, and fled back into the woods.
Brown said investigators had not been able to find any leads of a shooter. Both a bomb sniffing dog (to locate a weapon) and tracking dog were used in the initial investigation. Patterson said the shooter was on foot. Brown, however, said that possibly a car was used to leave the area.
When deputies and rescue personnel arrived at the scene of the shooting, Brown said Patterson was having a hard time breathing and had lost a lot of blood.
The schools had been placed on lockdown while sheriff's deputies sought the alleged shooter who reportedly fled the scene and was still at large. School buses headed for these schools had been instructed to find a safe place to pull off the road and wait for further instructions. Those instructions to pick up the students came about 3:30 p.m. as bus drivers were released to go to the schools.
The schools were placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure.