2 dead in Charlottesville helicopter crash


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.

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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.

No one on the ground was injured.

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.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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