RADFORD, Va. – People all across Virginia are mourning the loss of Trooper Lucas Dowell and remembering him for his honorable service to the commonwealth.
"He’s one of those guys who was such a hard worker but yet knew how to lighten the load of a stressful day,” Virginia Sen. Charles Carrico said.
People who knew Dowell are struggling to deal with his death in the line of duty.
"Such a young man, 28 years old, his whole life and career ahead of him," Carrico said.
The tragedy hits close to home for Carrico. He grew up with Dowell's parents. Their sons were friends who both served on Virginia State Police tactical teams and spoke just an hour before the raid that ended Dowell's life.
"You can't imagine the anxiety and the feelings that goes through a father and a mother, and my heart's broke for his mom and dad ‘cause I’ve know them almost all my life. And the community that he grew up in is just grieving tremendously," Carrico said.
Dowell grew up in Chilhowie and graduated from Radford University in 2013 with a degree in criminal justice.
"He was a wonderful young man, very studious, and he will be missed dearly," retired Radford criminal justice professor Dr. Tod Burke said.
Not only did Burke teach Dowell, he's also a former police officer who's experienced losing brothers and sisters in blue before.
"There’s nothing routine about it because as you can see, danger is always an element in a police officer's life," Burke said.
That life-threatening danger is what led Carrico to introduce legislation that would stiffen penalties for killing a law enforcement officer. The minimum penalty would be life in prison and the maximum would be the death penalty. His efforts are now reinforced by a tragedy that hit too close to home.
"We ask so many young men and women to put their lives on the line every day to go out and protect the commonwealth, and this is just something that's so heartbreaking for my family and everyone who is associated to the state police," Carrico said.