Virginia State Trooper Shot, Killed; Suspect Charged

Virginia State Police Trooper Junius A. Walker was shot along I-85 after he checked on a driver.

DINWIDDIE, Va. -- A Chesterfield man faces capital murder charges in connection to the Thursday slaying of a veteran Virginia State Police trooper who many in Dinwiddie County remember as a gentle giant

Dinwiddie County Commonwealth's Attorney Lisa Caruso said she plans to seek the death penalty against Russell E. Brown, 28. "I believe this to be a case in which we should seek the death penalty," Caruso said.

Caruso added that Brown, who appeared in court yesterday for an arraignment hearing, did not object to being put to death.

"I'm fine with being executed," Brown said, according to Caruso.

Brown has been charged with one count of capital murder of a police officer, two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony and one count of attempted capital murder of a police officer. He is being held without bond at the Meherrin River Regional Jail in Alberta.

Master State Trooper Junius A. Walker, 63, was patrolling Dinwiddie County on Thursday when he saw a black sedan parked on the side of Interstate 85. Walker pulled alongside the vehicle to check on the driver.

Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police spokeswoman, said that Brown open fired on Walker. It is believed that Walker's foot hit the gas pedal after being fired on, causing the car to lurch forward and run off the road into the woods, Geller added.

It is not Brown's first encounter with the law. Brown was convicted of obstructing justice in Richmond in 2007. Charges for carrying a concealed weapon and possession of marijuana in the same year were eventually withdrawn.

A passing motorist called 911 at 1:20 p.m. Thursday to report a trooper in distress, according to authorities. A responding trooper who arrived on the scene minutes later spotted a lone gunman shooting a weapon into Walker's patrol car. The responding trooper opened fire at the gunman, who fled into the wooded area away from the interstate, according to police.

The trooper did not pursue the suspect but immediately attended to Walker. Two troopers pulled Walker from the patrol car but he had suffered from multiple gun shot wounds and died at the scene. Heat from Walker's car engine ignited brush from the wooded area and the car caught on fire, Geller said.

Dinwiddie deputies took Brown into custody at 1:58 p.m. about half a mile away at a wrecker business. An employee at the business altered police after noticing that Brown was attempting to hide behind vehicles.

Police recovered a discarded weapon about half a mile away from the crime scene in the woods, and are still investigating whether it is the same weapon used to shoot Walker.

Thursday was supposed to be one of the last work days for the 35-year seasoned trooper. Walker had turned in his retirement papers not long ago, according to Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill.

He had joined the department in 1973, and patrolled Dinwiddie since 1986.

"He was a gentle giant, as I liked to call him. He was quiet, but when he spoke, you listened," said Major William Knott of the Dinwiddie County Sheriffs Office. "I was asked how I remember him, but not many didn't know him or will not remember him."

Geller became visibly distraught as she delivered the news of Walker's death. Geller had personally known Walker throughout her time on the police force, she said.

Even when Massengill was little, Walker's large stature did not scare him. He remembered the trooper mostly for his kindness.

That compassion was evident when one of Massengill's family members was involved in a car accident, Massengill said.

"He had a caring approach and took his job as a police officer very seriously. He was stern when he needed to be, but was really just extremely friendly," Massengill said.

The soft-spoken man with a large stature also held a special place in the heart of the former State Police superintendent,

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