CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Family and friends gathered for a prayer vigil Wednesday evening to remember one of the two Virginia State Trooper killed when their helicopter crashed in Charlottesville Saturday.
Those loved ones said Lieutenant Jay Cullen died doing what he loved and that he made the ultimate sacrifice for the community he served.
“Jay every day when he put on that uniform, he took a stand between us and evil,” said one speaker.
Dozens of family members, friends, and neighbors stood in solidarity, stretching across the lawn of a Chesterfield home to show their support for a grieving family going through a devastating loss.
Chad Kannon has known the Cullen’s for years and was good friends with Jay.
“We were pretty shocked a stunned,” Kannon said upon hearing the news.
Kannon described Cullen as a big family guy, who was a great father and great husband.
He said Cullen wasn’t even supposed to be working Saturday, but stepped in to do his part to help.
“From what we find out now. It was his day off he wasn’t even supposed to be up there. They asked him to come up and patrol and that makes it even worse,” he said.
During the vigil, Cullen’s wife Karen, their two sons and close family members sat on the porch.
A family friend read a statement from Karen Cullen:
“Jay Cullen was a wonderful man, outstanding husband and devoted father. He was a great son, a true friend and dedicated trooper,” the letter read. “Jay was our world. For our sons Ryan and Max, Jay was a dad and a best friend. He was my soulmate and best friend as well.”
She said her family has felt and appreciates the outpouring of love and support from the community.
Karen Cullen then addressed the crowd in front of her, thanking them from the bottom of her heart for being there for them.
That outpouring of support is on full display with blue and black bows lined up throughout the neighborhood and blue lights illuminating the front steps of each home.
“That’s how strong we are," said Kannon. "This little area in the community here is strong, what happens to one of us we all know about it.”
Prayer vigil in Richmond
Local faith leaders in Richmond held a prayer vigil Wednesday night for the victims in Charlottesville.
Leaders from 10 churches and a synagogue met at the Third Street Bethel AME Church. Faith leaders spoke to the crowd about growing concerns over racism and how to address it.