2 killed in helicopter crash in Albemarle County

Demonstrators march in response to the Charlottesville Virginia car attack on counter-protesters after the ‘Unite the Right’ rally organised by white nationalists in Oakland California US on 12 August 2017

Demonstrators march in response to the Charlottesville Virginia car attack on counter-protesters after the ‘Unite the Right’ rally organised by white nationalists in Oakland California US on 12 August 2017

Two state police troopers were killed in the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, yesterday, as a group of white supremacists took over the college town for hate-filled rally.

Virginia State Police confirmed that pilots Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, died in the wreck. He first joined the Aviation Unit in 1999.

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

"Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia".

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team". The Trooper-Pilots are trained in-house on VSP aircraft, which include four Bell 407 helicopters, two American Eurocopter EC145 helicopters, and three Cessna fixed-wing aircraft. Jay has flown us across the Commonwealth for more than three and a half years. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July. "The unit fielded 3,008 flight requests in 2015".

"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".

Lt. Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and daughter.

Sources familiar with the operation said state police were filming the Charlottesville protests from the helicopter.

"It was very apparent that the pilot was trying to gain control of the craft", Robby Noll, who was doing yard work in Albemarle County, told CBS6.

"Our state police and law enforcement family at large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day", said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent.

Deputies say one person is in custody and another person is wanted after they broke into a home on Upward Road.

This is a developing story.