Man charged in trooper killing
By Staff Reports
Mar 8, 2013, 14:01
Master Trooper Junius A. Walker
DINWIDDIE -- A Chesterfield man has been charged with capital murder after a state trooper was gunned down in his patrol car on the side of the highway.
The Virginia State Police are in mourning after Master Trooper Junius A. Walker, 63, died Thursday afternoon after being shot multiple times on Interstate 85 South near the 45 mile marker, near Dewitt. Walker, a 35-year veteran of the Department, was assigned to patrol Dinwiddie County.
Shortly before 1:20 p.m. Thursday, police say Walker pulled up next to a black midsize Lincoln sedan that was stopped on the right shoulder of the southbound lanes of I-85 to check on its driver. Moments later, the sedan’s driver opened fire on the trooper, police say. Wa|ker’s patrol car then lunged forward and ran off the right side of the road, coming to rest in the woods about 30 feet from the interstate.
A passing motorist called 911 to report a trooper was in distress. The first two state troopers to arrive on scene were approximately three miles north of the incident assisting with a work zone in the southbound lanes of I-85.
One of the two troopers witnessed a man standing outside of Walker’s patrol car with a weapon. The responding trooper and the man exchanged gunfire before the gunman fled on foot into the woods. At approximately 1:58 p.m., deputies with the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office took Russell Ervin Brown III, 28, of Chesterfield, into custody without further incident. Police say Brown was discovered hiding at a local business approximately a half rnile away from the scene of the shooting.
Brown had at least one run-in with the law previously in Richmond.
He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2007, according to online court records. Other charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed weapon were dropped.
Meanwhile, the heat from Walker’s vehicle sparked the brush under his vehicle. The two responding troopers were able to pull Walker from his burning car. However, he had been shot multiple times and succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Thick black smoke could be seen rising from the scene.
contributed photo/Virginia State Police This photo shows the scene of the crime.
“Master Trooper Walker was a highly-respected and long-time veteran of our Department, which has made his shocking death especially hard on the Virginia State Police family,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. “For 35 years he served us proud as a mentor to multitudes of new troopers, as a valued partner and colleague to his fellow Area 7 troopers, and as a true friend and protector of the Dinwiddie County community. He was and always will be one of Virginia’s finest.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“The State Police also expresses its sincere gratitude to the overwhelming law enforcement response to the scene on Interstate 85. Thanks to the immediate response from the Dinwiddie and Brunswick County sheriff’s offices, the City of Petersburg and Colonial Heights police departments, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service, we were able secure the scene and apprehend the violent and dangerous criminal,” Flaherty said.
Brown has been charged with one count of capital murder of a police officer, one count of attempted capital murder of a police officer, and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. Brown, who was not injured in the incident, is currently being held without bond at the Meherrin River Regional Jail in Alberta.
Russell Ervin Brown III,
The southbound lanes of Interstate I-85 were closed as state police processed the crime scene. The southbound lanes were reopened to through traffic nearly 12 hours after the shooting, at 12:55 a.m. Friday.
Walker is survived by his wife, Betty, and two adult daughters, Vera and Clarissa. He joined the department on March 1, 1973, and spent nearly 30 years patrolling Dinwiddie County. Among his many honors and recognition during his tenure with State Police, Walker was selected by Southside Virginia Community College as its 2011 Officer of the Year in recognition of his “many years of outstanding and dedicated service and protection the public.”
Walker is the Department’s 59th line-of-duty death for the Virginia State Police in its 81 year history.
Gov. Bob McDonnell offered his condolences to Walker’s family, friends and fellow officers.
“Sadly, since I have been governor, I have spoken with the families of our fallen law enforcement officers far too often. Each time we lose another officer, I am reminded of the sacrifice that our law enforcement professionals and their loved ones make each and every day.”