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Two Police Helicopter Pilots Killed While Assisting In The Charlottesville (Virginia) Riots

helicopter crash
Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates were killed Saturday when the helicopter they were riding in crashed.

A Violent chain of events surrounding a white nationalist rally turned deadly when a car plowed into a group of anti-racist marchers. Dozens were treated for injuries altogether, 19 of whom were hurt in the car crash.

The suspected driver, James Alex Fields Jr. , fatally struck a 32-year-old girl, that hasn’t been formally recognized, according to The Associated Press.

helicopter pilot
Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, was killed when the helicopter he was piloting with trooper Berke M.M. Bates crashed in Albemarle County since they were helping with public safety services during Saturday’s violence.

As soon after violence erupted in Charlottesville, two police officers were en route to deliver the city with public security backup, when their helicopter crashed around 5 p.m., Saturday.

Pilot Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, died at the scene. In a statement, Virginia State Police said the helicopter was “helping public safety resources together with the continuing situation” before falling into a wooded area, in Albemarle County, where Charlottesville is located.

State police, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate the cause of the crash, with “no sign of foul play being a variable. “Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty shared his condolences from the department’s statement.Enlarge this

helicopter pilot
Enlarge this pictureTrooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, was killed Saturday.

“Our nation authorities and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic result to an already challenging day,” he said. “Their deaths are a huge loss to our agency and the Commonwealth,” he added.Lt. H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, Va., “was a highly-respected expert aviator,”

Flaherty said.Cullen, 48, graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in 1994 as a member of the 90th Standard Session. He moved on to join the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999. He leaves a wife and two sons behind.

Fellow trooper Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., could have turned 41 years old Sunday, authorities said. Bates had only joined the Aviation Unit, in July, “a welcome addition,” Flaherty said, “following a distinguished mission as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation.”In 2004, he graduated from the state police academy as a member of the 107th standard Session. Bates had a wife, daughter and son.

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