Mourning the 3 Who Died in Charlottesville

RIP to state troopers H. Jay Cullen, Berke MM Bates and civilian Heather Heyer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2017 1:00 PM CDT
Mourning the 3 Who Died in Charlottesville
This undated photo provided by the Virginia State Police shows Lt. H. Jay Cullen, of Midlothian, Va.   (Uncredited)

Friends and family are mourning the three people who died over the weekend during a white nationalist rally in Virginia, per the AP. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he was touched by the deaths of two state troopers, whom he knew personally, who died when their helicopter crashed in a wooded area while deployed as part of a large-scale police effort to contain Saturday's violence. Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke MM Bates are being remembered Monday for their commitment and love of their jobs. McAuliffe frequently uses state police aircraft to travel the state and said Cullen, 48, had been one of his regular pilots. Before joining the aviation unit, Bates had been a member of the state trooper team that guards the governor and his family. "It was personal to me," McAuliffe said Sunday morning at a church service. "We were very close."

Cullen was a 23-year veteran of the department and head of the aviation unit. He's survived by his wife and two sons. Bates joined the department in 2004 and is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter. "Both of them were great guys who loved what they were doing," said Perry Benshoof, a retired trooper who worked with both. Meanwhile, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, the woman killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting the rally, was described by a longtime friend as a "true American hero." Felicia Correa said she spoke with Heyer's mother, who's struggling with the loss. "She said, 'Heather died doing what she loved—standing up for people,'" said Correa, who by early Monday afternoon had raised about $225,000 for Heyer's family through an online fundraising drive. Heyer grew up in Greene County and worked as a legal assistant at a law firm. Her boss said the young woman had a "big heart" and was "just a great person." (More Charlottesville, Va. stories.)

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