image via Virginia State Police

Berke Bates

Berke Bates, a Virginia State Police officer, was killed Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, during helicopter surveillance of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when the helicopter crashed in a residential area near the University of Virginia campus. He was 40. He would have turned 41 the following day.

“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said in a statement. “Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth,” Flaherty added, referring to Cullen and Bates.

Bates had served on an elite team assigned to protect Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his family.

“Berke was part of my executive protection unit. He was part of my family. The man lived with me 24/7,” McAuliffe said Sunday at a memorial service in Charlottesville.

Bates had just transferred to the aviation unit in July.

“This is the job he always wanted, which was flying,” his father, Robert Bates, told The Washington Post. “That’s what he wanted to do all his life.”

Bates played hockey for the University of Tennessee club team and played in the minor leagues.

He is survived by his wife, Amanda, and his 11-year old twins, a son and daughter.

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