MATHEWS COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Virginia State Police are investigating the shooting death of a well-known and seemingly well-liked man in Mathews County.
According to Sgt. Michelle Anaya, the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call around 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday from a residence in the 180 block of Ballast Point Road. The caller reported a gunshot victim, and when deputies arrived at the scene, they found a man dead inside a camper on the property.
“It’s very sober and sad, really heartbreaking,” said nearby resident Mary Walton. In the small county, word traveled fast that something bad had happened. “About 10 minutes after it happened, my daughter called me and told me something had happened to Tommy, and it wasn’t good,” Walton said.
The Mathews County man was identified as recently retired Virginia State Police Master Trooper Tommy E. Hudson, who most recently was working as a part-time deputy with the sheriff’s office. He was not working at the time of his death.
“He has been here for so long, and of course everybody around here knows everybody,” Walton said. “You can’t have anything bad to say. Maybe if you’re a criminal, you have something bad to say, but if you are an upstanding citizen, he was a great guy.”
But even a woman whom Hudson arrested is mourning his death. 10 On Your Side found Cathie Wahlers praying on the bumper of Hudson’s squad car, which is now draped in black on the front lawn of the sheriff’s office.
“He arrested me and got me off drugs, and I am clean and sober now, and that’s why I am here … he saved my life,” Wahlers said. “I would personally walk up to Tommy and thank him for saving my life … that is why I am here today to pay tribute to a very good man.”
Investigators are not completely sure what happened, so the investigation is being labeled an undetermined death.
A source close to the investigation told WAVY.com Hudson’s wife, who works at the county’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, was out to lunch when she got news of her husband’s death. She was actually tracked down at lunch and brought back to the office to away the outcome.
The VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Chesapeake Field Office was still processing the scene at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The person who called 911 was on the property at the time of Hudson’s death. Investigators questioned that person, but did not file any charges.
Hudson’s body will be transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination and autopsy.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of tears shed tonight for him, because he was such a great person, and if you knew him, you never forgot him, that’s for sure,” Walton said.
Anaya said there is no threat to the community — police are not looking for a suspect.
Longtime friend of the family, Carolyn Moran, commented on Tommy’s passing, saying, “If you had a flat tire, Tommy would help you. He was a Mathews County man. Whatever the truth is, I pray today everyone knows that Tommy loved his family…. We live in a community where people don’t lock their doors and they still do pounding; when you move in they bring you a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a quart of oysters or a quart of clams or a fresh-baked fish. It is that type of a close knit community.”
No other details have been released. Stay with WAVY.com for updates.