DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va (WTVR) — Today a stretch of Interstate 85 was renamed the Master Trooper Junius Alvin Walker Memorial Highway. In the past there have been overpasses dedicated to troopers and other officers killed in the line of duty, but this is the first time a portion of an interstate has been dedicated to a Virginia State Trooper.
Master Trooper Walker was shot to death on March 7th along I-85 as he tried to help a driver who pulled over. Russell Brown, 28, was arrested for the deadly shooting. He is currently behind bars charged with capital murder of a police officer, attempted capital murder of a police officer and use of a firearm in committing a felony.
During today’s dedication ceremony Master Walker’s widow, adult children, other family members, fellow officers, lawmakers and community members made up the majority of the nearly 150 people in attendance.
The highway markers are being placed along the interstate near Route 703 and at the Dinwiddie/Brunswick County line. And a third sign has been placed at the southbound I-85 Rest Area at the 55 mile marker–for the public to safely pay their respects to Master Trooper Walker.
Walker’s widow said seeing the highway markers, brings with it a wide range of emotions.
“Mixed feelings, I’m sure,” Walker’s widow Betty Walker said. “I’ll be happy on one hand and sad on the other. It was a lot of firsts this year for us and that’s going to be hard for us but we will get through it. We are a large family, we are a strong family.”
Fellow troopers–who were once mentored by Master Trooper Walker said today’s unveiling ceremony was a proud moment for the department and the community.
“When I see it (the markers), I’ll smile because of Junius and his personality and the way he was easy-going,” Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty said. “He didn’t mince words, he was direct. He told you what you needed to be told, but he wasn’t mean-spirited about it at all. I’ll just remember that smile and that kindness.”
Master Trooper Walker was 63 years old at the time of his death, and a 35-year veteran of the Virginia State Police department.