Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family, friends mourn 3 dead in Virginia rally violence

RICHMOND, Va. — The woman killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia was described as a "true American hero" who died doing what she loved — standing up for people.

Two state troopers also died when their helicopter crashed in a wooded area while deployed as part of a large-scale police effort to contain Saturday's violence. They were remembered for their commitment and love of their jobs.

Heather Heyer, 32, was among the hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Charlottesville, Va., to decry what was believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — who descended on the city to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue.

Felicia Correa, a longtime friend of Heyer's, said she spoke with Heyer's mother, who is struggling with the loss. "She said, 'Heather died doing what she loved — standing up for people,' " said Correa, who by early Sunday afternoon had raised about $125,000 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, Larry Miller, said the young woman was active in the firm's bankruptcy practice and had a "big heart."

"She cares about the people we take care of. Just a great person," he said.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he was touched by the deaths of the two troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, whom he knew personally. 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 has 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 is survived by his wife and two sons. Berke 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.

Craig Bates said his younger brother had always wanted to serve others and to fly.

The helicopter crashed in a wooded area outside Charlottesville about 5 p.m. Saturday. Police said the cause of the crash is still under investigation but there was "no indication of foul play."

Family, friends mourn 3 dead in Virginia rally violence 08/13/17 [Last modified: Sunday, August 13, 2017 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.