RICHMOND – Tragedy struck in the heart of Virginia’s capital city Thursday afternoon as a man opened fire on a group of Virginia State Police troopers taking part in a exercise at Richmond’s Greyhound Bus station, killing one trooper, and injuring two civilians.
According to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller, the shooting incident happened just after 2:40 p.m. Thursday as around a dozen members of the Virginia State Police gathered at the bus station along North Boulevard across from The Diamond baseball stadium for “specialized training on criminal interdiction practices”
Trooper Chad P. Dermyer began talking with the eventual shooter, later identified by law enforcement as 34-year-old James Brown III of Aurora, Ill., just inside the doors of the bus station and, during the course of that conversation, Brown pulled out a handgun and shot Dermyer several times.
“Trooper Dermyer’s encounter with the male subject was part of the training,” according to Geller. “Trooper Dermyer was in uniform at the time of the shooting.”
Within moments, two other troopers nearby returned fire as Brown continued shooting his weapon before moving into the bus station’s restaurant.
According to police, “[Brown] continued to be combative as police took him into custody and EMS crews tried to render aid to him.” He was eventually taken to VCU Medical Center in Downtown Richmond where he later died from his injures.
Two civilians inside the bus station were also wounded and transported to VCU Medical Center with what officials are calling “non-life-threatening injuries.”
The City of Richmond Police Department immediately responded to the scene to assist State Police with securing the scene, interviewing witnesses and evidence collection. Additional law enforcement resources from the FBI, ATF, US Department of Homeland Security, US Marshals Service, and Henrico County Police responded to the scene to assist, as well.
It was later confirmed by State Police Thursday evening that Dermyer had perished in the shooting, becoming the 62nd Virginia State Police Trooper to be killed in the line of duty in the department’s 84-year history.
Trooper Dermyer, a Jackson, Mich. native, graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy November 2014. His original patrol assignment was to the Chesapeake Division’s Area 46 Office, which encompasses the cities of Newport News and Hampton. He had just recently transferred to the state police Counter- Terrorism and Criminal Interdiction Unit. Prior to joining the state police, Trooper Dermyer served with the City of Newport News Police Department and the Jackson, Mich., Police Department.
Trooper Dermyer also served our nation for four years with the U.S. Marine Corps.
He is survived by his wife and two young children.
In the hours after the shooting, lawmakers took to social media to express their sadness over the tragic events that unfolded in Richmond, which made national headlines as the first reports of the shooting hit local airwaves.
“[I am] deeply saddened by the loss of Trooper Chad Dermyer,” remarked former City of Richmond mayor and current Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. “The Virginia State Police risk everything to keep us safe and all of Virginia mourns this senseless loss.”
Governor Terry McAuliffe echoed Kaine’s comments, saying “”Dorothy and I are heartbroken by the senseless death of Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer, who died serving in the line of duty in Richmond.”
“Like so many brave Virginia men and women, Trooper Dermyer put on a uniform and risked his life every day to keep us safe, first as a U.S. Marine and then as a police officer. He was a husband, a father and a hero who was taken from us too soon,” the governor continued.
“”This is a loss that impacts us all. It should inspire prayers for the family, friends and fellow troopers who are mourning, and gratitude for those who protect and serve,” McAuliffe remarked. “And as we grieve, we should also reflect, yet again, on how we can come together as a Commonwealth to end the senseless violence that costs the lives of too many mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.”
“We are heartbroken by this occurrence,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. “Our prayers go out to all those that have been affected by this incident.”
The investigation into the shooting remains ongoing.
Virginia State Police have placed Dermyer’s patrol car on display outside of their headquarters in North Chesterfield County.