Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the latest information on the suspect, which was not available at the time of publication.
UPDATE: 9:36 a.m., April 1 – WTVR-TV has identified the shooter as James Brown III, a black vigilante with a long rap sheet who’s well-known to police in the area. Below is what an interview with the suspect’s aunt revealed.
“He always liked the criminal side.”
She was upset about what happened, but not surprised.
“He had a lot of anger about the police in the past,” she said. “He pretty much thought he wanted to be infamous . . . in terms of having a showdown. He always praised those people who got into shootouts with police.”
Court records show James Brown III had been charged with murder, intent to kill, aggravated battery with a firearm, failure to obey police, resisting a corrections officer, aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, aggravated battery of an unborn child, numerous drug charges, intimidation, domestic battery, felony possession of a weapon, among many driving charges.
As of this update, police have still not formally identified Brown as the suspect.
On Thursday, Virginia State Police in conjunction with federal authorities were conducting a training exercise at a Greyhound bus station when things took a horrible turn. A State Trooper approached a man to question him, and within seconds, the man had shot him in the chest, leading to his death. The suspect has since been identified, but authorities are refusing to do one thing in particular that’s rather suspicious.
The horrifying incident unfolded in Richmond, where police were conducting criminal interdiction training that had officers approaching random people for questioning, and things went horribly wrong. Trooper Chad Dermyer, 37, was participating in the training when he approached the suspect near the entrance to the station and the man pulled out a gun then shot him in the chest, which led to Dermyer dying at the hospital hours later.
Patch.com has more:
Dermyer and about a dozen other troopers were at the bus station Thursday for specialized training on criminal interdiction, according to Corrine Geller, the state police spokeswoman. The troopers had finished classroom work and then moved to the bus station entrance for “real” training, which would typically involve visually scanning people passing through and tactfully questioning those who seem suspicious.
As part of the training, Dermyer approached the gunman near the entrance to the station at about 2:40 p.m. The two talked for only about 30 seconds when the trooper was shot, police said.
Geller said the gunman continued firing his weapon while running into the station’s restaurant area while two police officers exchanged gunfire with him before striking him an unknown number of times.
Two other women were also injured in the shootout, but their injuries aren’t life-threatening. Dermyer and the suspect were both rushed off to the hospital, where they died a short time later.
Dermyer was a decorated U.S. Marine before entering law enforcement, and reportedly one hell of a police officer. He was just recently transferred to the Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Interdiction Unit from being a regular patrol officer. He was also a husband and a father to two beautiful children, and his sudden death sent shockwaves throughout the community.
The suspect was identified shortly after the incident took place; however, police aren’t exactly being too generous with information about him. In fact, they’re refusing to give out any details whatsoever, which is odd considering it’s been nearly 24 hours since the shooting, and they’ve only said that it doesn’t appear to be terror-related.
According to NBC Washington, the suspect had a long rap sheet prior to Thursday’s violent encounter with Dermyer, although the number of convictions he had remains a mystery. Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia Stat Police, said that while terror doesn’t appear to be the motive, authorities are exploring every possible option.
“There’s not much we’ve ruled out,” Flaherty said, “but certainly there’s no indication of terrorism.”
In a prepared statement, Gov. Terry McAuliffe praised Dermyer’s record while lamenting his tragic death.
“Dorothy and I are heartbroken by the senseless death of Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer, who died serving in the line of duty today 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.
“This is a loss that impacts us all. It should inspire prayers for the family, friends and fellow troopers who are mourning tonight, and gratitude for those who protect and serve,” the statement continued. “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.”