A state po­lice agent was fa­tally shot dur­ing a traf­fic stop in a crime-rid­den Rich­mond com­mu­nity.

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY JENNA PORTNOY AND LAURA VOZZELLA jenna.portnoy@wash­post.com laura.vozzella@wash­post.com

rich­mond — A Vir­ginia State Po­lice special agent and fa­ther of three was fa­tally shot Fri­day night dur­ing a ve­hi­cle stop in a crime-rid­den Rich­mond neigh­bor­hood. Po­lice ar­rested a sus­pect in the killing af­ter an overnight search.

Michael T. Wal­ter, 45, was an 18-year vet­eran of the state po­lice and Marine vet­eran known for men­tor­ing young peo­ple. He is sur­vived by a wife; two sons, ages 14 and 9; and a 6-year-old daugh­ter.

Wal­ter died of his in­juries at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter shortly af­ter 5 a.m. Satur­day.

About an hour later, state po­lice and U.S. mar­shals ap­pre­hended Travis A. Ball, 27, at a home in Northum­ber­land County, in the North­ern Neck re­gion of Vir­ginia.

Ball is be­ing held with­out bail and was charged with ma­li­cious wound­ing, use of a firearm in the com­mis­sion of a felony and pos­ses­sion of a firearm by a con­victed felon. Ad­di­tional charges are pend­ing, po­lice said.

Wal­ter was the 63rd Vir­ginia state trooper killed in the line of duty since 1928 and the 11th in the past 11 years.

The most re­cent was in March 2016, when trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, was shot dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise at the Grey­hound bus sta­tion near down­town Rich­mond.

The shoot­ing oc­curred in Mosby Court, a sprawl­ing com­plex of run-down, two-story town­houses cov­er­ing about a square mile — the scene of six homi­cides and 19 non­fa­tal shoot­ings since Jan­uary.

Dur­ing an ap­pear­ance in the neigh­bor­hood Satur­day morn­ing to ad­dress re­porters and res­i­dents, Rich­mond Po­lice Chief Al­fred Durham an­nounced plans to have joint pa­trols with state and city po­lice in hopes of im­prov­ing re­la­tions with Mosby Court res­i­dents and al­le­vi­at­ing crime.

“At some point, we have to get it to­gether as a peo­ple, as a com­mu­nity, as a city, and say, ‘We’re not go­ing to tol­er­ate this no more,’ ” he said.

State Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Col. W. Steven Fla­herty paid trib­ute to Wal­ter for his com­mit­ment to pub­lic safety and pas­sion for work­ing with young peo­ple. He founded and ran a non­profit, the Powhatan Youth Wrestling and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Corp., through a lo­cal gym, he said.

“It was all about mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to dis­ad­van­taged youth, men­tor­ing them, fos­ter­ing them, fos­ter­ing their tal­ents through phys­i­cal fit­ness and sports­man­ship,” Fla­herty said. “A lot of what he was do­ing here last night — he was here for this com­mu­nity as well.”

Fla­herty said Dermyer’s widow, Michelle, “worked with Michael’s fam­ily” af­ter the shoot­ing.

State po­lice gave the fol­low­ing ac­count of the in­ci­dent.

On Fri­day night, Wal­ter was rid­ing with a Rich­mond po­lice of­fi­cer when, at about 7:25 p.m., the of­fi­cer and Wal­ter saw a sil­ver Chevro­let Cobalt pull up to the curb in the Mosby Court neigh­bor­hood.

The of­fi­cer and special agent pulled in be­hind the car and ap­proached it “to ini­ti­ate a con­ver­sa­tion as part of a con­sen­sual en­counter,” po­lice said.

As the Rich­mond of­fi­cer spoke to the driver of the car, Wal­ter walked up to the pas­sen­ger side, where Ball was seated. Within mo­ments, a shot was fired, and Ball ran.

A hand­gun was re­cov­ered near the car, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing. For 11 hours fol­low­ing the shoot­ing, law en­force­ment from lo­cal, state and fed­eral agen­cies con­ducted a search through­out the Rich­mond re­gion.

Fla­herty said Wal­ter and the Rich­mond of­fi­cer were close friends.

“I know that he’s hav­ing a very rough time, too,” Fla­herty said. “It’s a dif­fi­cult time for the state po­lice fam­ily; it’s a dif­fi­cult time for the Rich­mond law en­force­ment fam­ily; it’s a dif­fi­cult time for the Wal­ter fam­ily.”

A Philadel­phia na­tive, Wal­ter served in the Marines from 1989 to 1994. He moved to Vir­ginia to work at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter as a se­cu­rity of­fi­cer and then served for two years as an of­fi­cer with the Vir­ginia Di­vi­sion of Capi­tol Po­lice.

He grad­u­ated from the State Po­lice Academy in 1999 and was as­signed to the Fair­fax Di­vi­sion’s of­fice in Spring­field. As a trooper, he trans­ferred in 2005 to the Rich­mond Di­vi­sion’s Powhatan of­fice.

A year later, he worked as a K-9 in­struc­tor at the State Po­lice Academy. In 2010, he was pro­moted to special agent and as­signed to the Rich­mond of­fice’s drug en­force­ment sec­tion.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) ex­pressed con­do­lences to Wal­ter’s fam­ily and asked Vir­gini­ans to honor his mem­ory with grat­i­tude for po­lice.

“Dorothy and I are deeply sad­dened by the loss of Vir­ginia State Po­lice Special Agent Mike Wal­ter, and we are heart­bro­ken for his wife and chil­dren,” he said in a state­ment. “Special Agent Wal­ter was one of our brave men and women in uni­form who risk their lives ev­ery sin­gle day to pro­tect their fel­low Vir­gini­ans. We will be for­ever grate­ful for his ser­vice and sac­ri­fice.”

Durham, the po­lice chief, thanked un­spec­i­fied mem­bers of the com­mu­nity for of­fer­ing tips that helped lead to the ar­rest.

“A lot of folks say peo­ple don’t talk. Peo­ple talked,” he said. “You know why? They’re fed up, and you should be, too.”

Travis A. Ball, 27, right, is charged in the killing of Michael T. Wal­ter, 45, who had been with the state po­lice for al­most two decades.

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