“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said in the statement. “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.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe also released a statement, saying that they knew the officers personally.
“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 statement said. “Jay has flown us across the commonwealth for more than three and a half years. Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years.”
“This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth. Our hearts go out to their wives and children, and we stand by to support them during this difficult time. These heroes were a part of our family and we are simply heartbroken,” the statement concluded.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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