CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A state police helicopter flying above a clash between protesters crashed Saturday near a golf course in the Virginia woods, killing two people on board, police said.
Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Burke M.M. Bates were killed in the crash, Virginia State Police said.
“(The helicopter) was assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation,” state police said in a statement when it crashed around 4:50 p.m. near the Birdwood Golf Course. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The crash happened just a couple hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people.
Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in 1994. He joined the avaiation unit in 1999. He is survived by a wife and two sons.
Bates graduated from the academy in 2004 and had transferred to the aviation unit in July. He would have turned 41 Sunday. He is survived by a wife, a son and daughter.
“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.