Patricia Williford didn’t know Virginia State Police Special Agent Michael Walter, but she says the trooper’s killing in her neighborhood is still painful.
Williford, the president of the Mosby Court Tenants Council, joined hundreds gathered at a vigil Monday in Walter’s memory at the public housing community in Richmond’s East End.
She called the law enforcement veteran’s killing “senseless.”
“This man’s life, he was here trying to help us, and it really, really hurts,” Williford said. “It really hurts to know that someone comes into your community to try and help, and this happens to them.”
The vigil was just feet from where Walter was shot about 7:25 p.m. Friday while on a joint patrol with a Richmond police officer. He died about 5 a.m. Saturday. The state medical examiner’s office disclosed Tuesday that Walter, who was wearing a protective ballistics vest, died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Deputy Richmond Police Chief Steve Drew said residents and police have to work together to share information to combat crime, and he credited community tips for leading to the capture of Travis A. Ball, 27, a Mosby Court resident.
Ball, who was captured at a home in Northumberland County on Saturday, was arrested on a charge of malicious wounding, as well as firearm counts. State police have said other charges are pending. Ball was arraigned by video Tuesday morning in Richmond General District Court. During the hearing he was denied bail and a public defender was appointed to represent him.
Meanwhile, court records show that Ball was served with warrants on the day of the shooting accusing him of assaulting a 14-year-old girl in January. The girl reported that the assault occurred Jan. 28. “He grabbed me by my hair and slammed me down on my side and when I was going down he slapped me in the face,” she wrote in a criminal complaint.
Walter’s shooting death was among a string of violent occurrences in Mosby Court, where there have been seven homicides this year and several other shootings.
“Knowing that certain neighborhoods in the city have been plagued by violent crime, Mike volunteered to partner with the Richmond City Police Department to do his part to make the Richmond community a safer place to be,” state police Capt. Timothy Ring told vigil attendees.
“Mike’s name will be etched on a wall here in our city and our Capitol,” Drew said. “Don’t let it ever be forgotten. Keep it etched on your hearts.”
Charles Willis, the executive director of United Communities Against Crime, told the crowd that he grew up in Mosby Court.
The trooper “wasn’t here because this was where he was coming to get lunch. He wasn’t here because he wanted to hang out. This was not where he lived. This was where he worked,” Willis said of Walter, who lived in Powhatan County with his wife and three children. “This is where he cared about us.”
Law enforcement officers from agencies across the region came to the vigil.
Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, whose district includes Mosby Court, said after the vigil that she has been to prayer vigils all over the neighborhood in the years she has been on the council.
“Officers that come and provide us with opportunity to have a safe community certainly shouldn’t be losing their lives as well,” Robertson said.
Meanwhile, Virginia State Police announced Monday that funeral arrangements have been finalized for Walter, who also served in the and was a coach at a youth wrestling club in Powhatan.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Powhatan High School, followed by a funeral at the school at 1 p.m.
Immediately after the service, a reception will be held at the high school, located at 1800 Jude’s Ferry Road in Powhatan County, for all those in attendance.
Interment will be a private, graveside service.
For those wishing to support the Walter family financially, contributions are being accepted through the Virginia State Police Association’s Emergency Relief Fund at www.vspa.org.
Donations can also be made by check. Checks, which should be made payable to VSPA-ERF with “Mike Walter” noted in the memo area, can be mailed to the Virginia State Police Association’s Emergency Relief Fund at 6944 Forest Hill Ave., Richmond, VA 23225.
All donations to the VSPA-ERF are tax-deductible, and Walter’s family will receive 100 percent of contributions, state police said.