Prayer vigil planned for Va. trooper killed at bus station

RICHMOND, VA (WCMH/AP) — A state trooper who was fatally shot at a busy bus terminal during a training exercise was being mourned Friday in Virginia and in Michigan, where he grew up and maintained ties, as officials tried to learn what sparked the shooting.

A gunman shot Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, multiple times Thursday in the capital city of Richmond before he was shot dead by two other troopers, police said. The gunman’s identity was being withheld until his family could be notified.

Two civilians, both women, also were shot but were expected to recover. Their names haven’t been released, but spokesman Ryan Yarosh with Binghamton University in New York said Friday that one of the women was a member of the school’s track team. The team was headed Thursday to a meet at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, about 50 miles from Richmond.

Police say Dermyer, the father of two children, was a native of Jackson, Michigan, and a former Marine who had served on the force in Jackson and Newport News, Virginia.

He grew up in Michigan and kept in touch with friends there, visiting last summer, The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported. Matt Miller of Jackson said he played soccer with and against Dermyer since they were children. He described Dermyer as a good guy and a strong athlete.

Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said investigators don’t know what sparked the shooting. Dermyer had been participating with about a dozen other troopers in a training exercise at the bus station when a brief encounter with the gunman quickly turned violent, he said.

Dermyer was dressed in a fatigue-style uniform and was not wearing a protective vest, the superintendent said.

Police departments in the area and across the nation have reached out to show support.

A memorial has already been set up outside of Virginia State Police Headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike. There, a police patrol car sits with a black ribbon across the hood.

A prayer vigil is planned tonight in honor of Trooper Dermyer. It will take place at 6:30 p.m. just across the street from the Greyhound bus station.

Organizers ask that those that wish to attend to wear blue.

About 50 officers from the Richmond Police Department went to the bus station to assist state police, Chief Alfred Durham said.

He said law enforcement officers have become the target of “folks out there with evil intentions.”

“It’s unfortunate these are the days we’re living in, where folks want to harm law enforcement,” Durham said. “We just want our officers to end their shifts and to go home to their families.”

Greyhound issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying the Richmond bus station would be closed “until further notice.”

The last Virginia trooper to be killed in the line of duty was 27-year-old Trooper Nathan-Michael Smith of Henrico. Smith was responding to a call for an officer in distress on Sept. 21 when patrol car crashed in Prince George County. He died at VCU Medical Center.

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