Mourners remember Virginia trooper killed in copter crash

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A state police trooper who died in the fatal crash of a helicopter that had been monitoring a violent white-nationalist protest in Charlottesville was remembered Friday as a devoted family man and proud law enforcement officer.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe was among those who attended the funeral for Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond on Friday. The service also was attended by troopers from around the country.

“He was a character and I’ll miss him greatly,” said McAuliffe, who told colorful stories of Bates from his time spent on the governor’s protective unit.

Authorities say Bates was a passenger in a helicopter providing video to police of activities in downtown Charlottesville last Saturday before it broke off to lend support to a motorcade for the governor. The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said Bates’ work filming the rally was instrumental in helping police catch the man who they say drove the car that plowed into a group of protesters, killing one woman and injuring at least 19 people.

Bates had recently gotten his pilot’s license, and had joined the aviation unit only last month.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

A funeral for the helicopter’s pilot, Lt. Jay Cullen, is scheduled for Saturday.

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