A man fatally shot a Virginia state trooper and was then shot and killed by law enforcement in an incident late Monday in Cumberland County, officials said.
Trooper Lucas Dowell, a native of Chilhowie in Smyth County and a graduate of Radford University, is the 66th Virginia state trooper to die in the line of duty, according to the agency.
The incident happened around 10 p.m. Monday in the 1500 block of Cumberland Road, just north of Farmville, according to officials.
A state police tactical team, along with a local drug and gang task force, had entered a home to execute a search warrant when Corey Johnson, 44, began shooting at them, according to police.
The tactical team members “returned fire, fatally wounding the male suspect,” police said in a statement.
State police said Johnson was the only person inside his residence at the time of the incident, and officers were searching the property as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation.
Johnson died at the scene and his remains were taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for an autopsy.
Dowell was taken to Southside Community Hospital in Farmville, where he died. No other troopers were injured in the shooting.
Dowell had been with the department since 2014 and had been a member of the Virginia State Police Tactical Team since 2015. He was assigned to the state police’s Appomattox Division, and his most recent posting was on patrol in an area including Lynchburg and Amherst and Campbell counties.
He graduated from Chilhowie High School in 2009 and was a standout athlete in high school who played on the 2008 Region C runner-up team in football and was a two-year starter in center field for two district championship teams in baseball.
Jeff Robinson, a teacher at Chilhowie High School, coached Dowell in baseball and football. He said two things he would always remember about Dowell was he was a great leader and teammate and always had a smile on his face.
“His smile will forever be something I remember about him,” he said. “He would light up a room with his outgoing personality. He was from a good family and was just a first class person.”
Robinson said he could see how Dowell became involved in law enforcement because he was a team player who was concerned more about others than himself, and those types of people go into professions that serve others.
“As a coach, you always want your players to go on and become good people, good husbands, good fathers and productive members of society,” Robinson said. “Lucas was an example of one of those players that you were so proud of for what they had made of them-self after high school.”
Dowell graduated with a degree in criminal justice from Radford in 2013.
Caitlyn Scaggs, the associate vice president for university relations, said:
“Trooper Lucas Dowell embodied the true spirit of a Highlander during his service to the Commonwealth and his time on Radford’s campus. Within the criminal justice program, he made an impact on his professors and fellow students, and did the same after graduation through his service as a Virginia State Trooper.
“Our Highlander family is deeply saddened by his death in the line of duty and will be forever thankful for his contributions to our community both on campus and beyond. Our sympathies are extended to Lucas’ family, loved ones, Virginia State Police colleagues and all impacted by his passing.”
Dowell is survived by his parents and a sister, officials said.
In a statement, Col. Gary Settle, the Virginia State Police superintendent, said, “This is an extremely difficult day for the State Police.”
He said Dowell would be remembered for his “great strength of character, tenacity, valor, loyalty and sense of humor.”
“We are humbled by Lucas’s selfless sacrifice and grateful for his dedicated service,” Settle said.
The Bristol Herald Courier and Roanoke Times staff writers Alison Graham and Sam Wall contributed to this report.