Mourners remember Virginia trooper killed in helicopter crash

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A state police trooper who died in the fatal crash of a helicopter that had been monitoring a violent white-nationalist protest in Charlottesville was remembered Friday as a devoted family man and proud law enforcement officer.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe was among those who attended the funeral for Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond on Friday. The service also was attended by troopers from around the country.

“He was a character and I’ll miss him greatly,” said McAuliffe, who told colorful stories of Bates from his time spent on the governor’s protective unit.

Authorities say Bates was a passenger in a helicopter providing video to police of activities in downtown Charlottesville last Saturday before it broke off to lend support to a motorcade for the governor. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said Bates’ work filming the rally was instrumental in helping police catch the man who they say drove the car that plowed into a group of protesters, killing one woman and injuring at least 19 people.

Bates had recently gotten his pilot’s license, and had joined the aviation unit only last month.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

A funeral for the helicopter’s pilot, Lt. Jay Cullen, is scheduled for Saturday at Southside Church of the Nazarene in Chesterfield County. That service is slated to begin at 10 a.m. There will also be visitation for Lt. Cullen on Friday at Bennett Funeral Home in Chesterfield County from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Virginia State Police Association (VSPA) says they have received many calls from citizens wanting to make donations in memory of Lt.-Pilot H. Jay Cullen, III and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. Bates. Anyone wishing to make a donation may do so through the Association’s Emergency Relief Fund. You may donate by mailing a check to the office, but please notate in the memo section of your check “Lt. Cullen and/or Tpr. Bates.” VSPA Office 6944 Forest Hill Ave Richmond, VA 23225. You may also donate through PayPal by visitinghere. When donating through PayPal, please be sure to note the donation is for “Lt. Cullen and/or Tpr. Bates” in the comment section. Donations are tax deductible through the VSPA-ERF fund but more importantly 100 percent of the donation will go to the families. If you have any questions, call the VSPA office at 804-320-6272.

WATCH: The service for Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

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