RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia state trooper who was shot when a man pulled out a gun Thursday afternoon at a Greyhound bus station in Richmond, Virginia, state police said Thursday night.
Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty says the trooper, 37-year-old Chad Dermyer, died Thursday after being shot multiple times.
State Police have said two civilians were also shot at the terminal. The gunman was shot dead by two other troopers.
State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said earlier in the day the trooper, who was already at the station, met a man just inside the entrance. Geller said the trooper was talking to the suspect when the man opened fire.
Geller previously said the two civilians who were wounded were expected to survive.
The nature of the civilians’ injuries wasn’t immediately clear.
A firearm was recovered at the scene, Geller said.
Governor Terry McAuliffe released a statement regarding the shooting.
“Dorothy and I are heartbroken by the senseless death of Virginia State Trooper Chad Dermyer, who died serving in the line of duty today in Richmond. Like so many brave Virginia men and women, Trooper Dermyer put on a uniform and risked his life every day to keep us safe, first as a U.S. Marine and then as a police officer. He was a husband, a father and a hero who was taken from us too soon,” he said.
Brendan Hamilton told The Richmond Times-Dispatch he was about to walk into the station when he heard two loud bangs, then saw flashes of light. He told the newspaper he then heard at least five more bangs. People then started to run out of the building, said Hamilton, 28, who was visiting from Baltimore.
Vincent Smith was working next door to the Greyhound station when he heard sirens and saw police cars buzzing by.
“The police units just poured in like a river,” said Smith, who works at the U-Haul Moving and Storage facility. “I went to the end of the lot and there must have been 30 units just a block away.”
Smith said he saw police officers carrying shields and assault weapons. An officer came by and ordered him and his co-workers to stay inside and lock the doors until they’re told it was safe again. By late afternoon, he said he had been locked inside for about an hour and a half.
Leigha Schilling, who was between stops on her bus trip from New York to South Carolina, told The Associated Press that she was smoking a cigarette outside the station Thursday when she heard banging. She went back inside briefly and saw people lying on the ground and what appeared to be blood on the floor. A security guard ordered her to get on the floor and she ran back outside, where she heard several shots, she said.
“I was terrified,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Najee Wilson, 18, of Newark, New Jersey, said his bus was pulling up to the station when he heard three gunshots and saw people running out of the building.
“We heard a lot of people screaming,” Wilson said. “It definitely was a scary experience.”
Wilson, who was en route to Atlanta, was among about 200 travelers waiting to board buses at a staging area set up a few blocks from the bus station after the shooting.
Charles Leazott works in the marketing department at Electrical Equipment Company, across the street from the bus station. “I glanced out my office window and saw, no exaggeration, what looked to me to be every police officer in the city of Richmond,” he told the AP.
Leazott said emergency teams “ran in with stretchers and, in what seemed like an amazingly short period of time, they were coming back out with people on the stretchers.”
City Council member Reva Trammell was at the scene of the shooting and called it “the saddest day in the city of Richmond.”
“State troopers doing their job and innocent people shot,” she added. “Why? This was a senseless act.”
Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones issued a statement saying he was being briefed on the situation.
Greyhound Bus tweeted that the Richmond station is closed until further notice.
The Greyhound Bus Station is located west of the city’s downtown area, across from Richmond’s minor league baseball stadium and within a former industrial area. It is located on a main thoroughfare connecting a residential district to the stadium and nearby restaurants.