Virginia state trooper fatally shot; suspect arrested

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Local,Virginia,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

A Virginia State Police trooper has been shot to death, and a suspect has been arrested after exchanging gunfire with another trooper, police said.

The slain officer has been identified as 63-year-old Master Trooper Junius A. Walker. He was a 35-year veteran of the department who patrolled Dinwiddie County, an area south of Richmond where the shooting took place.

At about 1:20 p.m. Thursday, Walker's patrol car pulled up to check on the welfare of the driver of a black sedan that was stopped on the right shoulder of the southbound lanes of Interstate 85. Moments later, the sedan's driver -- 28-year-old Russell E. Brown -- opened fire on Walker, state police said The trooper's patrol car lunged forward and ran off the right side of the road into the woods.

A passing motorist called 911 to report that a trooper was in distress. Police officials said one of the first troopers who responded to the call saw Brown outside of Walker's patrol car, shooting into the vehicle. That trooper and Brown then exchanged gunfire, but neither were injured, police said.

Brown then fled on foot, but Dinwiddie County Sheriff's deputies discovered him a short time later hiding at a business about a half-mile away from the shooting scene. He has been charged with one count of capital murder of a police officer, one count of attempted capital murder of a police officer, and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, police said. He is being held without bond at the Meherrin River Regional Jail in Alberta, Va.

While authorities were looking for Brown, Walker's vehicle caught fire. Troopers were able to pull Walker out of his burning car, but he had been shot multiple times and died at the scene, police said.

Walker is the 59th member of the Virginia State Police to be killed in the line of duty. He received many honors during his time with State Police, and was Southside Virginia Community College's Officer of the Year for 2011. He is survived by his wife and two adult daughters.

"Master Trooper Walker was a highly-respected and long-time veteran of our Department, which has made his shocking death especially hard on the Virginia State Police family," said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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