State Police lieutenant, trooper-pilot killed in helicopter crash identified

State Police lieutenant, trooper-pilot killed in helicopter crash identified

Earlier, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer and hospital officials said at least one person was killed and 19 injured in a car crash in the wake of a violent white nationalist rally on Saturday in the historic college town.

"Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation".

"Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day", Flaherty said.

According to the Washington Post, Trooper Pilot Berke Bates played hockey at the University of Tennessee.

A Virginia state trooper helicopter was patrolling over the rally, which was met by counter-protestors early Saturday evening, when the helicopter crashed, killing the pilot and his passenger.

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Jay Cullen, 48, (l.), and Berke M.M. Bates, 40, (r.) died in a helicopter crash while monitoring the violent clashes in Charlottesville.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team".

"It lost some parts, [they] seemed to fly off, and then it came down relatively quickly", he added. Jay Cullen was the pilot. The unit also employs three full-time mechanics for its fleet and exceeds minimum FAA maintenance requirements. Our hearts go out to their wives and children, and we stand by to support them during this difficult time. CNN reports that the cause of the crash is still being investigated, but that no foul play is suspected. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July.

This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth. These heroes were a part of our family and we are simply heartbroken. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.