The wife and child of Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Blake Bivens were murdered in a triple homicide on Tuesday in Pittsylvania County, VA, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Just an awful tragedy: The wife and child of Blake Bivens, a Double-A pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, were among three people killed in rural Virginia on Tuesday, sources tell ESPN. Police have charged Bivens' wife's brother with first-degree homicide.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 28, 2019
Matthew Bernard, 19, is in police custody and has been charged with first-degree homicide for allegedly murdering his mother, sister, and his sister’s child.
The Montgomery Biscuits — Rays’ Double-A affiliate — cancelled their doubleheader against the Chattanooga Lookouts earlier on Tuesday.
Tonight's doubleheader has been cancelled. pic.twitter.com/QjhbQ0unPP
— Montgomery Biscuits (@BiscuitBaseball) August 27, 2019
A statement from CEO & Managing Owner, Lou DiBella. pic.twitter.com/Uocm0juKb7
— Montgomery Biscuits (@BiscuitBaseball) August 28, 2019
The Rays released a statement:
We're with you, Blake. pic.twitter.com/gJqdUCIf7p
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 28, 2019
“Earlier today we learned that Blake Bivens, a pitcher with our Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits, suffered a terrible family tragedy in southern Virginia. Our hearts are broken for Blake. We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Bivens family and the Biscuits family during this extremely difficult time.”
Various news outlets have reported disturbing details of the suspect’s behavior on Tuesday.
Via 10 News:
A neighbor told 10 News the suspect looked nervous and frightened. She said she saw the suspect run out from behind her house toward Keeling Baptist Church. She said he was naked and deputies tried pepper-spraying him, but, she said, he was unfazed. She said she saw him choke someone at the church. Deputies then hit him with batons and arrested him, she said.
The media also became involved in the incident, when Bernard “ran towards [news crew members] naked,” according to The News & Observer.
“Early in the afternoon, news crews were standing outside in a media staging area when Bernard ran toward them naked, WSET reported.
Video footage shows a man who news outlets have identified as Bernard running toward an armed police officer, who keeps his distance. Bernard then chases the officer, who appears to use pepper spray, before running toward a man getting into a truck. Bernard grabs the man around the neck before he’s chased away by the officer. Bernard runs off, again, before officers are able to apprehend him.”
ABC 13- WSET posted video on Facebook of Bernard chasing a police officer and grabbing a man around the neck, before finally being caught by police.
Bivens, 24, was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of George Washington High School in Danville, VA. He has a 4-0 record and 3.95 ERA in 57 innings pitched this season for Montgomery.