A Virginia State Police helicopter helping law enforcement officers monitor the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville crashed in Albemarle County on Saturday, killing the two people on board.
The Bell 407 helicopter went down 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Charlottesville, Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email.
The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.
Just before the incident, thousands of white nationalists, neo-Confederates and right-wing protesters, as well as groups that oppose them, clashed during the "Unite the Right" rally at the Emancipation Park in the downtown.
Virginia State Police are investigating a helicopter crash in Albemarle County in which 2 Virginia State Police pilots died.
Officers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have ties to East Tennessee
Bates had a birthday this weekend, and his family was planning on traveling to Richmond to celebrate.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team". No one on the ground was injured, it said. Jay has flown us across the Commonwealth for more than three and a half years. He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999. "The unit fielded 3,008 flight requests in 2015". "Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years", he said. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and daughter.
This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth.
Trooper-Pilot Bates graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. These heroes were a part of our family and we are simply heartbroken.
Deputies say one person is in custody and another person is wanted after they broke into a home on Upward Road.
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