Fam­ily, friends mourn woman killed in Char­lottesville

The Washington Times Daily - - FROM PAGE ONE - BY ALAN SU­D­ER­MAN

RICH­MOND | The woman killed when a car plowed into a crowd of peo­ple protest­ing a white na­tion­al­ist rally in Vir­ginia was de­scribed as a “true Amer­i­can hero” who died do­ing what she loved — stand­ing up for peo­ple.

Two state troop­ers also died when their he­li­copter crashed in a wooded area while de­ployed as part of a largescale po­lice ef­fort to con­tain Satur­day’s vi­o­lence. They were re­mem­bered for their com­mit­ment and love of their jobs.

Heather Heyer, 32, was among the hun­dreds of pro­test­ers who had gath­ered in Char­lottesville to de­cry what was be­lieved to be the largest gath­er­ing of white su­prem­a­cists in a decade — in­clud­ing neo-Nazis, skin­heads and Ku Klux Klan mem­bers — who de­scended on the city to rally against plans to re­move a Con­fed­er­ate statue.

Feli­cia Cor­rea, a long­time friend of Ms. Heyer, said the slain woman died stand­ing up for peo­ple of color and called her a “true Amer­i­can hero.”

She said she spoke with Ms. Heyer’s mother, who is strug­gling with the loss. “She said, ‘Heather died do­ing what she loved — stand­ing up for peo­ple,” ’ said Ms. Cor­rea, who by early Sun­day af­ter­noon had raised about $125,000 for Ms. Heyer’s fam­ily through an on­line fundrais­ing drive.

Ms. Heyer grew up in Greene County and worked as a le­gal as­sis­tant at a law firm. Her boss, Larry Miller, said the young woman was ac­tive in the firm’s bank­ruptcy prac­tice and had a “big heart.”

“She cares about the peo­ple we take care of. Just a great per­son,” he said.

Vir­ginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he was touched by the deaths of the two troop­ers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Troop­erPilot Berke M.M. Bates, whom he knew per­son­ally.

Mr. McAuliffe fre­quently uses state po­lice air­craft to travel the state and said Lt. Cullen, 48, had been one of his reg­u­lar pi­lots. Be­fore join­ing the avi­a­tion unit, Trooper-Pi­lot Bates has been a mem­ber of the state trooper team that guards the gov­er­nor and his fam­ily.

“It was per­sonal to me,” Mr. McAuliffe said Sun­day morn­ing at a church ser­vice. “We were very close.”

Lt. Cullen was a 23-year vet­eran of the depart­ment and head of the avi­a­tion unit. He is sur­vived by his wife and two sons. Trooper-Pi­lot Berke joined the depart­ment in 2004, and is sur­vived by his wife, a son and a daugh­ter.

“Both of them were great guys who loved what they were do­ing,” said Perry Ben­shoof, a re­tired trooper who worked with both.

Craig Bates said his younger brother had al­ways wanted to serve oth­ers and to fly.

The younger Mr. Bates, who died one day short of his 41st birth­day, worked for years as a trooper, first in Florida and then in Vir­ginia. He’d re­cently got­ten his pi­lot’s li­cense so that he could ap­ply to work for the depart­ment’s avi­a­tion unit. He got his wish, and joined the unit only last month.

“It was the cul­mi­na­tion of a lot of dreams come true,” Craig Bates said. “This is some­thing that he truly wanted to do. It was much too short but I’m grate­ful for the fact that he was able to do that.”

The he­li­copter crashed in a wooded area out­side Char­lottesville around 5 p.m. Satur­day. Po­lice said the cause of the crash is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion but there was “no in­di­ca­tion of foul play.”

State po­lice iden­ti­fied the driver in the car crash that killed Ms. Heyer as 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. He has been charged with se­cond-de­gree mur­der and other counts.

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