RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–State police grapple with the shooting death of long-time trooper, Master Trooper Junius Walker, age 63. And it’s been 20 years since the last Virginia trooper was shot and killed.
Walker was shot several time off Interstate 85, the suspect firing into his cruiser; witnessed by an officer arriving on scene. Walker’s car rolled into the woods and caught on fire.
State police aren’t releasing much information yet about the man they have in custody, but police sources tell CBS 6 the suspect is from Chesterfield and Richmond area, and no stranger to law enforcement.
Walker was a veteran officer, joining in 1973, who recently talked to his neighbors about retirement plans.
“The trooper was shot multiple times and died at the scene,” Geller said.
State police are in the early stages of their investigation.
Around 1:20 p.m, troopers say Walker pulled alongside a black vehicle on the shoulder of I-85. A few moments later another trooper arrived to witness the shooting horror. The trooper’s car crashed into the woods and caught fire, as the suspect ran into the woods.
Troopers are unsure if it was a traffic stop or if Walker was checking on a disabled vehicle.
“He does not have a camera in his car, so it’s a little more difficult for us to put a sequence of events together,” Geller said.
A K-9 found clothes and a weapon in the woods. “We have recovered a weapon and now we will send it off for ballistics tests to see if it was the murder weapon,” said Geller.
Forty minutes later and half-mile from the scene, sources tell CBS 6 the suspect was found naked in an abandoned vehicle at this tow service parking lot. He was taken into custody as troopers began the search as to why the shooting happened.
“I think it’s safe to say that everyone who knew this trooper, knew he was a great man, not only in size but personality, character and dedication to the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Geller, her eyes filling with tears.
Charges are pending, although the suspect will most likely face capital murder of a police officer and if found guilty, could face the death penalty.
Trooper walker leaves behind a wife and two grown daughters.
The VSP’s heavy-duty training and professionalism have largely kept them safe, but they’ve still lost plenty in the family, most of them struck by vehicles on the road they patrol.
Just five months ago, Trooper Andrew Fox was struck and fatally injured while directing traffic outside of the Virginia State Fair.
And there have been, on average, one trooper killed in crashes or vehicle strikes every other year.
But it’s been 20 years since the last trooper was shot and killed.
Trooper Jose Cavazos was shot in the chest six times by a speeding motorist in a stolen car on February 24, 1993. The killer, Lonnie Weeks, asked God to bless the Cavazos family just before he was executed by lethal injection 13 years ago.
Another trooper died from gunshot wounds since then, in 1995, but Henry Noel Harmon had been shot in the neck by a man he arrested nearly 30 years earlier and had been left a quadriplegic.
The worst run of recent murders came between 1984 and 1987, when five troopers were slain.
|Trooper / Inspector||Date of Death||Details|
|Inspector W. Neville Hatcher||19-Aug-28||Killed while attempting to arrest a murder suspect|
|Inspector Phillip C. Via||11-Jan-29||Killed due to motorcycle accident while providing an escort for President Calvin Coolidge|
|Inspector Curtis Lee Wood||11-Mar-29||Killed when he was struck by an intoxicated driver|
|Inspector Thomas Allen Belt||18-Aug-30||Killed in a motorcycle accident in Loudoun County|
|Inspector Charles Bazil Bullock||15-Feb-34||Succumbed to injuries received in a motorcycle accident|
|Inspector William Raymond Thompson||23-Sep-35||Killed while attempting to arrest three bank robbers|
|Sergeant Charles William Puckett||28-Mar-38||Succumbed to pneumonia contracted while pursuing and arresting a murder suspect|
|Sergeant Clarence Lemuel Maynard||9-Sep-39||Killed in an accident while responding to a call|
|Trooper Urshell Thomas Mayo||19-Feb-41||Succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident|
|Trooper William Stafford Tinsley||5-Sep-42||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper William Hawthorne Andrews||3-Oct-46||Succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Robert Elvin Caldwell||17-Jun-48||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Joseph Benjamin Thomas||20-Jun-50||Killed in an airplane accident|
|Trooper Robert Edward Porter||20-Jun-50||Killed in an airplane accident|
|Investigator Wallace Monroe Simpson||23-Oct-51||Shot and killed by an escaped mental patient|
|Trooper Robert Wright Smith||21-Nov-51||Killed when his patrol car was struck by a passenger train|
|Trooper Walter Sinton Parrish||4-Oct-53||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Robert Louis Loder Jr.||31-Jan-54||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Robert Fulton Giles||23-Jul-54||Shot and killed by a suspect during an arrest|
|Trooper Henry Murray Brooks Jr.||10-Jun-56||Struck and killed by an automobile while investigating an automobile accident|
|Trooper Charles Eugene (Gene) Morris||2-Mar-62||Shot and killed while assisting deputies make an arrest|
|Trooper Garland Matthew Miller||13-Jun-63||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Warren Yokely Harless||18-Nov-68||Shot and killed while assisting deputies with an arrest|
|Trooper Jackie Monroe Bussard||5-May-70||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Donald Edward Lovelace||18-Oct-70||Struck and killed by an automobile during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Rannie DeWitt Kennedy||5-Nov-73||Killed in an automobile accident during a vehicle pursuit|
|Trooper James Read Hughes||3-Jun-74||Struck and killed by an automobile during a traffic stop|
|Investigator Claude Everett Seymour||25-Apr-75||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Bernard Walter Wright||17-Jan-76||Killed in an automobile accident during a pursuit|
|Trooper Garland West Fisher Jr.||15-Nov-76||Shot and killed after being abducted during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Robert Tinsley Lohr||22-Jul-78||Struck and killed by a vehicle while assisting a motorist|
|Trooper Robin Lee Farmer||3-Sep-81||Killed in an automobile accident during a pursuit|
|Special Agent Rodney Dean Grimes||9-Oct-83||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Johnny Rush Bowman||19-Aug-84||Stabbed to death when an unidentified male attacked him at his home|
|Sergeant James Leroy Biggs||19-Dec-84||Shot and killed during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Leo Whitt||12-Apr-85||Shot and killed during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Ricky Marshall McCoy||3-Jan-86||Shot and killed during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Alexander McKie Cochran III||15-Jan-87||Shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance in his neighborhood|
|Trooper Harry Lee Henderson||17-Mar-87||Struck and killed by a truck during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Jacqueline Vernon||16-Aug-88||Struck and killed by a Metro Bus during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Jerry Lynn Hines||20-Feb-89||Shot and killed during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Jose M. Cavazos||24-Feb-93||Shot and killed during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Henry Noel Harmon||7-Feb-95||Shot and paralyzed on 1-10-60, & died 2-7-95, due to complications from the wound|
|Trooper Gregory Patton Fleenor||12-Dec-96||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Jessica Jean Cheney||17-Jan-98||Killed while directing traffic at the scene of an accident|
|Trooper Daniel Lee Williams||12-Dec-99||Died two days after being critically injured in a car accident|
|Senior Trooper Charles Mark Cosslett||23-Oct-02||Killed in a motorcycle accident|
|Trooper Michael Todd Blanton||29-Jan-03||After stopping a DUI driver was dragged by vehicle & killed after it crashed|
|Trooper Kevin Carder Manion||18-Feb-06||Accidentally shot and killed by a rifle that discharged in a wrecked vehicle while being loaded|
|Senior Trooper Robert A. Hill Sr.||24-Nov-06||Struck and killed by a vehicle during a traffic stop|
|Trooper Mark David Barrett||14-Sep-10||Drowned during Search and Recovery Team training dive exercise|
|Trooper Adam M Bowen||24-Jun-11||Killed in an automobile accident|
|Trooper Andrew David Fox||5-Oct-12||Struck and killed by vehicle while directing traffic at the Virginia State Fair|
|Master Trooper Junius A. Walker||7-Mar-13||Shot and killed during a traffic stop on I-85 near mile marker 45 in Dinwiddle County|
For more information on this story, click here: Virginia State Trooper shot and killed on Interstate 85.
Stay with WTVR.com and CBS 6 News for the latest updates on the state trooper shooting.