CUMBERLAND, VA (WWBT) - A Virginia State Police Trooper and another man are dead after a shooting in a drug raid in Cumberland County late Monday.
State police say a Tactical Team was helping the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force with executing a search warrant at a home in the 1500 block of Cumberland Road (Route 45), which is just north of the town of Farmville.
“The Tactical Team had made entry into the residence shortly before 10 p.m. Monday when an adult male inside the residence began shooting at them,” Virginia State Police said in a news release. “The Tactical Team members returned fire.”
The trooper who was shot - Trooper Lucas B. Dowell, 28, - was transported to Southside Community Hospital in Farmville where he later died.
"This is an extremely difficult day for the State Police,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “We are humbled by Lucas’ selfless sacrifice and grateful for his dedicated service to the Commonwealth. He will forever be remembered by his State Police Family for his great strength of character, tenacity, valor, loyalty and sense of humor.”
Dowell is a Chilhowie native and graduated from the Virginia State Police’s 122nd Basic Session in November 2014.
“Since graduation he has been assigned to the Virginia State Police Appomattox Division,” Virginia State Police said. “His latest assignment was on patrol in Area 20, which encompasses the City of Lynchburg, and Amherst and Campbell counties. He was a member of the Appomattox Division Tactical Team - the equivalent of a SWAT Team.”
The suspect - Corey Johnson, 44 - was the only person inside the home. He died at the scene.
Police say a search warrant was being conducted as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.
“My heart goes out to the family of the trooper," said Amber Carter, who lives along Cumberland Road.
Carter says she had no idea what was unfolding just a few yards away from her home until this morning.
“When I woke up, I could see a lot of lights across the street at the church. There was undercover cops, and after some people had texted my phone and called me to ask me if I was okay, I stepped out and that’s when I saw the road was barricaded both ways," she added.
Another woman, who lived even closer to the house where the shootout took place, said she woke up in the middle of the night to red and blue lights shining through her windows.
“Evil can happen anywhere, but it just made me a little nervous, and plus it was upsetting to see another cop killed," Virginia Hohenberger said.
Trooper Dowell is survived by his parents and a sister.
“The passing of Trooper Dowell is a great loss to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends who knew Trooper Dowell best. We are grateful for his dedication to the safety of our communities, and for all of those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.”
The incident remains under investigation.
Visitation for Dowell will be Feb. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral will be Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. Both will be held at Chilhowie Christian Church at 172 Apple Valley Road in Chilhowie.
Condolences can be sent to the VSP Public Relations Office at P.O. Box 27472 Richmond, VA 23261 and online at www.williamsfuneralhomeofchilhowie.com.
The family has requested instead of flowers, donations be made to the Virginia State Police Association. Please note the donation is in honor of Lucas Dowell in the payment reference section.