W. Gerald Massengill, a retired colonel and former head of the State Police, was Walker's supervisor when Walker first began serving in Dinwiddie. It was only last year that the former head of the State Police, a Dinwiddie resident, presented Walker with an award from the Sutherland Ruritan Club for his longtime service. Walker was noted for his compassion, steadiness and professionalism, which were the same attributes he carried when out on pursuits, the former State Police superintendent said.
"He was a very large man, and to look at him in that uniform, you could tell that he had a lot of authority and command, but when you got to know him, and you saw the way he carried out his duties, you saw that he was a true public servant. He knew how to solve a problem without creating a problem," Massengill said.
The Brunswick County native loved living in a rural area and was comfortable with patrolling the roads, never desiring to move up in the ranks, Massengill said.
Walker is survived by his wife and two adult daughters. One of his daughters currently serves in law enforcement and was previously a Dinwiddie County sheriff's deputy.
"I know that J.A. was very proud of Clarissa for being in law enforcement. He was proud of both of his girls," Nancy Mayo, Walker's neighbor, said.
Members of both the State Police and the Dinwiddie Sheriff's Department continue to mourn the death of one of their own.
"For 35 years he served us proud as a mentor to multitudes of new troopers ... he was and always will be one of Virginia's finest," Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent, said in a statement.
Dinwiddie Sheriff D.T. "Duck" Adams has received calls as far away as Orange County and southwestern Virginia inquiring about Walker's family.
Those in Washington - including U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes - have also expressed their condolences.
"Virginia's public safety professionals are on the front lines every day protecting their fellow citizens from harm and pursuing those individuals whose actions put others in danger," Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement. "These men and women are heroes who place their lives on the line to protect their fellow Virginians."
Brown's family members told Richmond television station WWBT that Brown had been under pressure because of unemployment, eviction, the death of his mother, unmanageable child support obligations and a dispute over custody and visitation rights involving his 7-year-old twins, who live in another state.
"That's not my brother. I have known him all my life and he's not that type of person to just go out and cold-bloodedly shoot someone or anyone," said Michelle Brown, Russell Brown's sister. "I do think that he had a mental breakdown and I just think that it was so much pressure as far as his kids not being in his life."
Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court records showed that Brown owed more than $35,000 in child support as of Oct. 31, 2012. He had been ordered to pay $906 a month to the mother of the twins. A civil trial for failing to pay child support was set for April 5 and a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for March 14.
He was found guilty for a variety of traffic charges in Chesterfield County. According to court records, Brown was found guilty of driving without a license as well as having an expired registration after he failed to show up for the court in November 2012.
Walker's death is the 59th line-of-duty death for the Virginia State Police in its 81-year history. The department lost Trooper Andrew D. Fox on Oct. 5, 2012 in Hanover County when he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic. It has been 20 years since a trooper was killed in an armed conflict, according to the state police website.
"I've known him my whole career. He was a mountain of a man and he would give you the shirt off his back. It is just a sad day," Sheriff D.T. "Duck" Adams said.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
- Vanessa Remmers can be reached at 804-722-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org