Death count from Charlottesville protests rises to 3, after police helicopter monitoring scene crashes

Death count from Charlottesville protests rises to 3, after police helicopter monitoring scene crashes
Lt. H. Jay Cullen, left, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (Images: Va. State Police via The Daily Progress)

[Ed. – The deaths were the result of a tragic accident … that wouldn’t have occurred is skinheads had been permitted to march unopposed.]

Two state troopers were killed Saturday afternoon when a helicopter crashed into a wooded area near Birdwood Golf Course in Albemarle County.

The pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, of Quinton, died at the scene. No one on the ground was injured, according to police.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The Bell 407 helicopter they were piloting was being used to assist public safety efforts for Saturday’s Unite the Right rally, which found thousands of alt-right demonstrators and counter-protesters clashing on Market Street and around the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville. State, city police and Albemarle County police, as well as the National Guard, monitored the protests.

Neighbors in the Old Farm Road area flocked near the crash site in its immediate aftermath, with many saying they had heard the helicopter hovering close to nearby homes before pulling into the wooded area. State police joined county police and fire units who were the first responders to the scene.

Authorities have said there is no indication that foul play was a factor in the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are now involved in the investigation.

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