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Amherst community honors Virginia State Police officer killed in the line of duty

Trooper Lucas Dowell, 28, died in shootout that also killed suspect

AMHERST, Va. – "It's a sad, sad day. It's a sad situation. Our police shouldn't have to worry about not coming back home," Kim Viar said.

Viar and her 12-year-old son, Will Viar, were some of the people flowers on Virgina State Trooper Lucas Dowell's squad car on Tuesday.

"I thought I should come here and pay my respects to him," Will said.

Viar said she brought her son there to teach him a lesson.

"I said, 'Will, do you want to go get some flowers and let’s go honor the state trooper?' He said, 'Yes.' And so that’s the way I want him raised, as love and respect for our policemen," Viar said.

Just before 10 Monday night, a Virginia State Police tactical team was helping the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force executive a drug-related search warrant at a home in Cumberland County right outside of Farmville.

When officers went inside, 44-year-old Corey Johnson started shooting at them. Officers fired back killing Johnson. But one of their own, Dowell, was hit and later died from his injuries.

On Tuesday in Amherst County, other state troopers came to the Area 20 office to write special words to Dowell.

One read, "Buddy, I'm going to miss you so much. We will hold the line from here. Love, 1329."

"Y'all are probably having a hard day today cause he passed away last night. I hope y'all do good without him," Viar said to officers who were close to Dowell.

Dowell is the 66th state police officer to die in the line of duty for the department . Dowell covered Lynchburg, Campbell and Amherst counties.

The Amherst County Sheriff's Office released a statement to WSLS 10, saying:

"It is with great sadness to learn of the death of VSP Trooper Lucas Dowell. He was such a fine young officer with great character and integrity. He was a great asset to the Amherst County Law Enforcement community working with the men and women. We will keep all of those involved in our thoughts and prayers."

No other officers were injured in Monday night's shooting. State police say, as part of their policy, the two officers who fired their weapons were placed on administrative leave.