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K-9 officer killed, driver dead after Virginia State Police troopers exchange gunfire with driver

Virginia State Police said the driver of a stolen car and an accused murderer started shooting at troopers who tried to stop him in Sussex County. In the course of the encounter, the driver died along with a police dog.
Credit: Virginia State Police
Virginia State Police K-9 Officer Vader died on August 1, 2018 after an accused killer exchanged gunfire with troopers in Sussex County, Va. The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois graduated from Virginia State Police Narcotics Detection Training in 2017.

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.

Credit: Virginia State Police
A picture of the hole left in a back window of a Virginia State Police trooper's car. The bullet that made it hit K-9 Officer Vader, a drug detection dog that was in the back seat of the car on August 1, 2018. Vader died as a result of 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.

Credit: Virginia State Police
Virginia State Police placed a K-9 car in front of the its administrative headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike as a memorial to Officer Vader, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, that died on August 1, 2018 when he was hit by a bullet.

"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.

Credit: Virginia State Police
A tribute to Virginia State Police K-9 Officer Vader. The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois died on August 1, 2018 in Sussex County, Va. after a bullet hit him while he was in the back seat of a trooper's car. Police said a man wanted for murder fired it.

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