CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen was laid to rest Saturday following a public memorial service at Southside Church of the Nazarene on Courthouse Road in Chesterfield County.
Lt. Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates were killed last Saturday when a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into a wooded area near a home on Old Farm Road outside Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Virginia State Police helicopter was flying over the Charlottesville-area assisting with public safety at the “Unite the Right” rally.
Lt. Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999.
Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.
Speaker: Jay ‘took a stand between us and evil’
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.”