SUSSEX COUNTY, Va. (WVEC) — Virginia State Police said Thursday that Tramaine Marquese Poole, 41, of New Haven, Conn. was the driver who died in a shootout with troopers on Wednesday after he refused to stop for them. K-9 officer Vader also died. Troopers said a bullet fired by Poole hit the 2-year-old Belgian Malinois while he was in the back seat of a police car.
Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said a trooper who was on Interstate 95 North in Sussex County saw a car that someone in Connecticut reported stolen. The driver, Poole, was wanted for murder there. Geller said the trooper turned on his lights and siren to stop the car. Geller said Poole wouldn't stop.
The trooper followed the car. Poole started shooting at the trooper. The shooting continued off and on. Poole got off the interstate at the exit for Owens/Route 645 (Exit 24). Other troopers positioned themselves to stop the car as it headed towards the intersection of Loco School Road and Bell Road.
Geller said Poole kept shooting at troopers. One of his bullets went through the window of a trooper's car and hit Vader, a drug detection dog. Vader graduated from Virginia State Police Narcotics Detection Training in December 2017. He died from his injury.
Eventually, the car stopped. Troopers exchanged gunfire with Poole. He was hit and died there. Medics took a passenger who was in the car to the hospital. Geller said the woman was treated and released.
Troopers placed a blue and gray K-9 car in front of Virginia State Police Administrative Headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike on Thursday as a memorial to Vader. Geller said VSP was working on arrangements for a service to honor him.
"Our canine program is essential in so much of what we do as a Department to achieve our public safety mission," said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Vader and are forever grateful for his sacrifice and selfless service to the state police and the Commonwealth. For our canine handlers, their dogs are more than just a partner on the job. They are their protectors, their constant companion and confidant on the road. Vader was family."
None of the troopers who were there at the time of the shooting was hurt. Three are on administrative leave which police say happens when there is a shooting involving officers.
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