State trooper dies in shootout that also killed suspect

By Heather Butterworth - Digital Content Producer

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. - UPDATE

Virginia State Police say Trooper Lucas B. Dowell died in a shootout that also resulted in the death of a suspect while trying to execute a drug-related search warrant Monday evening. 

Dowell, a Chilhowie native and Radford University alumnus, graduated from the Virginia State Police's Basic Session in November 2014. He succumbed to his injuries overnight at Southside Community Hospital, according to VSP. He is survived by his parents and a sister. 

“This is an extremely difficult day for the State Police,” said Colonel 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's latest patrol area covered Lynchburg, Amherst County and Campbell County. 

Funeral arrangements are pending. 

The suspect, 44-year-old Cumberland County resident Corey Johnson, was shot and died at the scene. A medical examiner will perform an autopsy.

The two troopers who fired their weapons are on administrative leave, which is standard policy. 

The Amherst County Sheriff's Office released the following statement:

"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."

Radford University released the following statement: 

“Trooper Lucas Dowell embodied the true spirit of a Highlander during his service to the Commonwealth and his time on Radford’s campus. Within the criminal justice program, he made an impact on his professors and fellow students, and did the same after graduation through his service as a Virginia State Trooper. Our Highlander family is deeply saddened by his death in the line of duty and will be forever thankful for his contributions to our community both on campus and beyond. Our sympathies are extended to Lucas’ family, loved ones, Virginia State Police colleagues and all impacted by his passing.”

Gov. Ralph Northam issued this statement:

“The passing of Trooper Dowell is a great loss to the Commonwealth. 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.”

Lynchburg Chief of Police released this statement: 

"The Lynchburg Police Department grieves the tragic loss of Virginia State Police Trooper Lucas Dowell. We offer our support to the VSP during this extremely difficult time, as well as our thoughts and prayers to the Trooper's family. We are humbled and thankful for Dowell's selfless example of dedication and sacrifice.  As fellow law enforcement officers, we will seek to honor his sacrifice through the hard work and service of everyone at the LPD."

ORIGINAL STORY 

A man has died following a shooting that sent a state trooper to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

A Virginia State Police Tactical Team was helping the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force execute a drug-related search warrant at a home along Route 45 in Cumberland County just before 10 p.m. Monday. The home is close to the town limits of Farmville. 

When they went inside, a man started shooting at them, according to state police.

Two state troopers then fired back, killing the man. He will be identified once his family members are notified. 

One of the troopers was shot and was taken to Southside Community Hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

No other troopers were hurt, and the man was the only person home. 

The two troopers who fired their weapons are on administrative leave, which is standard protocol. 

The investigation is still open. 

Statement from Virginia Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr.:

“The killing of Trooper Dowell is a reminder of the very real dangers our State Police and law enforcement professionals face every day they protect and serve the people of Virginia.  They and their families make unimaginable sacrifices to ensure our safety and to serve the Commonwealth.

"The murder of Trooper Dowell has hit especially close to home for Senate Republicans.  Trooper Dowell’s family and the family of Senator Carrico are very close, and they are all understandably devastated by his loss in the line of duty.  All in our caucus are heartbroken.

“We can never repay these brave men and women, or their families, for what they do for all of us.  The family of Trooper Dowell will be in our prayers as we share in their profound and heartbroken grief.”
 

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