RICHMOND, Va. - A deadly shooting that claimed the life of a Virginia State Trooper inside a Richmond bus station remains under investigation. Authorities held a news conference to give more information on Friday afternoon, one day after Trooper Chad Dermyer was killed inside the busy Greyhound bus station.
The suspect, James Brown of Aurora, Illinois, was shot and killed by two other troopers after police say Brown shot Trooper Chad Dermyer, 37, several times. They also say he had 143 rounds of additional ammunition in his possession.
During Friday's news conference, police thanked those around the world who have shown their support for the department and Trooper Dermyer since he was killed. Funeral arrangements for Dermyer are still in progress.
Dermyer and about 16 of his colleagues were undergoing a training operation at the bus station when the shooting took place. Police said Dermyer was new to his unit and as a result, was new to the training.
Based on evidence and surveillance video, police said Brown was initially sitting down in the restaurant inside the bus station. As Trooper Dermyer got up, Brown left the restaurant and walked over to his bags, which were near the bus station. When Dermyer approached him, police say Brown immediately pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot Trooper Dermyer. As soon as that gunfire erupted, two nearby troopers fired at Brown, hitting him. He was transported the hospital where he later died.
A Binghamton University student who was also injured during the shootout was released from the hospital on Friday, a university spokesperson told the Associated Press. The school said the 21-year-old student is a member of the track team, and was on her way to William & Mary for a track meet when the shooting took place. Another woman, from North Carolina, also suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
Police said Brown's bus trip started in Raleigh, N.C., and he was on a stopover in Richmond before heading to DC for another stopover. He had a final destination of Chicago. So far, police say they have no indication that anyone was traveling with Brown.
According to investigators, Brown had a lengthy criminal record in Illinois. According to court records, Brown, 34, was charged with attempted murder in 2001 before pleading guilty to lesser charges. He was sentenced to four years in prison, with credit for time served. Then in 2006, he was charged with unlawfully possessing a weapon and body armor as a felon and drug charges. He pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, according to court records, and the other charges were dropped. Brown was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.
Brown's record also shows he pleaded guilty to domestic battery and aggravated battery of a pregnant woman in 2012, and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
Trooper Dermyer, a Jackson, Michigan native, graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy November 2014 as a member of the 122nd Basic Session. His original patrol assignment was to the Chesapeake Division’s Area 46 Office, which encompasses the cities of Newport News and Hampton. He had just recently transferred to the state police Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Interdiction Unit. Prior to joining the state police, Trooper Dermyer served with the City of Newport News Police Department and the Jackson, Mich., Police Department. Trooper Dermyer also served our nation for four years with the U.S. Marine Corps. He is survived by his wife and two young children.
Police also said Friday that Trooper Dermyer made one of the most high-profile arrests in recent years while with VSP when he discovered a dead body in the trunk of a woman's car last year. Dermyer pulled over Tonya M. Slaton on Interstate 64 because her license plates were expired. Dermyer eventually searched the car and authorities say he found the remains of Slaton's son, who had been missing for a decade. Slaton has since been charged with murder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.