Northam orders flags at half-staff in memory of fallen Virginia state police trooper

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT/WDBJ) — Gov. Ralph Northam ordered Friday that flags be lowered to half-staff on Saturday in commemoration of fallen Virginia State Police Trooper Lucas Dowell, who died after a shooting near Farmville late Monday.

His statement reads, "In accordance with the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby order that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia be flown at half-staff on all state and local buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth of Virginia in respect and memory of Virginia State Police Trooper Lucas Dowell, of Smyth County, Virginia.

I hereby order that the flags shall be lowered at sunrise on Saturday, February 9, 2019, and remain at half -staff until sunset.

Ordered on this, the 8th day of February, 2019."

The public is welcome to attend the visitation and funeral services, according to Virginia State Police.

Visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m and from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8 at Chilhowie Christian Church, 172 Apple Valley Road, Chilhowie.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, also at Chilhowie Christian Church.

Interment will be in St. James Lutheran Church Cemetery, 538 St. James Road, Chilhowie.

On Monday, Virginia State Police say a Tactical Team was helping the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force with executing a search warrant at a home in the 1500 block of Cumberland Road (Route 45), which is just north of the town of Farmville.

“The Tactical Team had made entry into the residence shortly before 10 p.m. Monday when an adult male inside the residence began shooting at them,” Virginia State Police said in a news release. “The Tactical Team members returned fire.”

Dowell, 28, was transported to Southside Community Hospital in Farmville where he later died.

The suspect - Corey Johnson, 44 - was the only person inside the home. He died at the scene.

Police say a search warrant was being conducted as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.

“The passing of Trooper Dowell is a great loss to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends who knew Trooper Dowell best. We are grateful for his dedication to the safety of our communities, and for all of those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Condolences can be sent to the VSP Public Relations Office at P.O. Box 27472 Richmond, VA 23261 and online at www.williamsfuneralhomeofchilhowie.com.

The family has requested instead of flowers, donations be made to the Virginia State Police Association. Please note the donation is in honor of Lucas Dowell in the payment reference section.