Virginia troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have Tennessee ties

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Two Virginia State Police officers were killed in a helicopter crash en route to a fatal car crash at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a statement on the deaths.

Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, both died at the scene.

Virginia State Police stated, "formally established Jan. 1, 1984, the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit's primary mission is to provide aircraft for search, rescue, law enforcement and medical evacuation missions through its three Aviation Bases located in Chesterfield County, Lynchburg and Abingdon".

The Virginia State Police helicopter was flying over the Charlottesville-area assisting with public safety at the Charlottesville protests.

"It lost some parts, [they] seemed to fly off, and then it came down relatively quickly", he said. "Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth".

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team".

Honoring Virginia State Trooper Lt. H. Jay Cullen, died 8/12/2017 in a helicopter crash.

The two victims were the only people on board the helicopter and there were no injuries to anyone on the ground, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

State police have said that there's "no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash". Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years.

"He was a good trooper", Robert Bates told the Washington Post.

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. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Bates is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.