A Helicopter Carrying State Troopers Crashes Near Charlotteville, Leaving Two Dead

by Jenny Hollander
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Two state troopers died Saturday in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville, Virginia, close to a white nationalist rally that ended in violence and at least one additional death. The New York Daily News claims that the helicopter was linked to the violent clashes engulfing the city. According to a press release, the two victims were Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

Trump tweeted his condolences to the families of the two victims, writing: "Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died today. You're all among the best this nation produces."

Virginia state police outlined some of the details of the crash via Facebook, writing:

Virginia State Police are investigating a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
Shortly before 5 p.m. today (Aug. 12), a helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road. There are two confirmed fatalities.
No one on the ground was injured. The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time. State police are on scene with Albemarle County police and fire units.
More information will be released as it becomes available.

It is unclear where the helicopter was heading, nor under what circumstances it was linked to the violent Charlottesville rally.

In a statement, the local superintendent noted: "Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day ... Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth.”