Trooper Lucas B. Dowell, 28, a Virginia State trooper who was shot during a drug raid Monday, has succumbed to his wounds. Dowell was helping the Piedmont Regional Drug and Gang Task Force execute a search warrant at approximately 10 p.m. when an armed man opened fire upon the team.
The tactical team was able to return fire and kill the alleged assailant; however, Trooper Dowell had already been struck. He was taken to the hospital where he later succumbed to his wounds. Dowell is survived by his parents and one sister. No other officers were hurt during the raid. Dowell had been a member of the Virginia State Troopers since 2014.
The two officers who returned fire have been placed on administrative leave per Virginia State Police policy. According to officials, Dowell was well-liked among his peers and was known for his sense of humor. In a statement, Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gary T. Settle said: “This is an extremely difficult day for the State Police. We are humbled by Lucas’ selfless sacrifice and grateful for his dedicated service to the Commonwealth. He will forever be remembered by his State Police Family for his great strength of character, tenacity, valor, loyalty and sense of humor.”
The suspect, Corey Johnson, 44, died at the scene of the incident and was the only person inside the residence. It is unclear if any drugs or other illicit items were found inside the home.
In 2018, 52 police officers were fatally shot while on duty. While violent crime has generally been trending down in recent years, 2018 marked an uptick in fatal police officer shootings. 46 officers were fatally shot in 2017. Along with vehicle crashes and assaults, shootings are the most common way police officers are killed while on duty.
At least six other officers have been killed by gunfire so far in 2019. In addition, two police canines were also shot and killed while on duty.