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.
A Virginia state trooper helicopter was patrolling over the rally, which was met by counter-protestors early Saturday evening, when the helicopter crashed, killing the pilot and his passenger.
Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, both died at the scene.
The Washington Post reports that Cullen exchanged text messages with his father on Saturday, describing the chaotic scene of the alt-right protest.
“He said it was an absolute mess,” Cullen told the newspaper.
“Jay was the greatest son a person could ever have, a great father to his two sons, a loving husband to his wife, Karen, and he was doing something that he loved.”
Bates had a birthday this weekend, and his family was planning on traveling to Richmond to celebrate.
“He was a good trooper,” Robert Bates told the Washington Post.
A third person was killed as a result of the rallies. Heather Heyer, 32, was run down by a car when it intentionally plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters on Saturday. A 20-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter.