HAMPTON, Va. -- Approximately 3,500 people attended the funeral service for Virginia State Police Trooper Chad Dermyer, held Tuesday at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton. Dermyer was shot and killed last week during a training exercise at the Greyhound bus station in Richmond.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty said that Dermyer proved every day, on duty and off duty, that he had what it takes to be in law enforcement.
“He had integrity, fortitude, character, and lord knows, he had compassion for other people,” Flaherty said.
The emotion in the sanctuary was palpable as Dermyer's former shift partner with the Newport New Police, Cyndi Grace spoke, and as she addressed his wife, son and daughter.
She said she was a better person for knowing Dermyer.
"He had a megawatt, true genuine smile that illuminated any room he was in. When you were the recipient of that smile it was like food for your soul. A bad day vanished, just like that," Grace said.
More than 80 out of state officers representing more than 20 agencies attended Dermyer's funeral. There were 250 cars in the procession over to Gloucester County for the private burial.
The order of the Program for Trooper Dermyer’s Service was as follows:
Welcome: Dr. Grant Etheridge, Sr. Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church
Prayer: Rev. Joe Hunt, Pastoral Care Pastor, Liberty Baptist Church
Reflections: Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent
Eulogy: Ms. Cyndi Grace, Dear Friend & Former Shift-Partner, Newport News Police Department
Song: "How Great Thou Art" – Joi Bowling, Liberty Baptist Church
Message: Dr. Grant Etheridge
Prayer: Dr. Grant Ethridge
Recessional: Proceed outdoors for placement of the casket by the Virginia State Police Honor Guard into the hearse, then procession begins to Gloucester County for burial.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty described the March 31 shooting as something that happened without alarm and within seconds.
Dermyer and 16 other troopers, special agents, and supervisors, were going through a training operation at the bus station, when he approached James Brown III, 34, of Aurora, Illinois. The interaction was part of Trooper Dermyer's introductory training, as he was new to the counter terrorism and criminal interdiction unit.
Dermyer tried to carry a conversation with Brown near the front entrance of the bus station around 2:40 p.m., but within seconds Brown pulled out a 40 caliber Beretta semi-automatic pistol from his pants and shot Dermyer multiple times.
At that point, two troopers returned fire, striking Brown and taking him into custody. Brown was transported to VCU Medical Center where he died.
Col. Flaherty said Brown was coming from Raleigh and headed to Chicago through the Greyhound bus with 143 rounds of unspent ammunition in his possession.
CBS 6 reporter Mark Holmberg uncovered brown’s extensive criminal history in his home state of Illinois, with charges including murder, intent to kill, aggravated battery with a firearm, failure to obey police, and aggravated battery of a pregnant woman.
Edith Brown, who helped raise Brown and had allowed him to stay with her until December, when she said she told him he had to leave, said her nephew's actions did not surprised her
"He always liked the criminal side," she said. "He had a lot of anger about the police in the past. He pretty much thought he wanted to be infamous . . . in terms of having a showdown. He always praised those people who got into shootouts with police."
Virginia State Police Trooper Chad Dermyer
Before joining state police, Dermyer served with the City of Newport News Police Department and the Jackson, Mich., Police Department. Dermyer also served four years with the U.S. Marine Corps.
He is survived by his wife Michelle and two young children.
The Virginia State Police Association is accepting donations for the Dermyer family. Checks should be addressed to VSPA Emergency Relief Fund and with Trooper Dermyer in the “memo” line. Donations can be mailed or dropped off at the VSPA at 6944 Forest Hill Avenue in Richmond, Virginia 23225.