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Virginia Police Aviation Commander Killed in Crash

Virginia Police Aviation Commander Killed in Crash

Two Virginia state troopers were killed in a tragic helicopter crash seven miles from the "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Associated Press later reported that "Officials say the deaths of two people in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, Virginia, have been linked to a violent white nationalist rally earlier in the day".

The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

In a press release identifying the victims, authorities said the helicopter was assisting in efforts in Charlottesville. No one on the ground was injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Virginia State Police are all investigating the crash, which took place in a wooded area.

The helicopter had left from the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport just before 4 p.m. and was in the downtown area until about 4:45 p.m. when it was redirected to provide support for a motorcade that was transporting Governor Terry McAuliffe.

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Cullen had over 20 years of service with the state police and is survived by a wife and two sons. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash. "Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth".

On behalf of the City of Charlottesville and all of our citizens, we send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Ms. Heyer, Lieutenant Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Bates.

He joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999.

Bates would have turned 41-years-old on Sunday, August 13.

Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

The crash happened just a couple hours after a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people.


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