RICHMOND, Virginia— Despite injuries suffered during the fatal shooting of a Virginia state trooper, Wingdale resident Sarah Haley joined her SUNY Binghamton teammates Friday to cheer them on at a track meet at William & Mary College.
Haley was one of two civilians who suffered non-life threatening injuries during the Thursday afternoon incident at a bus terminal in Richmond that left Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, dead after multiple shots were fired by an Illinois man, Virginia State Police told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Dermyer had been participating in a training exercise with other troopers at the bus station when a brief encounter with the gunman, identified Friday to the Richmond Times-Dispatch as James Brown III, 34, of Aurora, Illinois, turned violent. Police shot Brown, who later died, police said.
State police told the local paper that Brown was traveling from North Carolina to Chicago and carrying more than 140 rounds of ammunition, but officials weren’t sure what prompted Dermyer to approach Brown.
Haley had been on her way to the track meet at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia — about an hour west of Richmond — when the shooting occurred. She was taken to a nearby hospital and released Friday.
According to the SUNY Binghamton women’s track roster, Haley is a junior pole-vaulter from Wingdale who attended Dover High School and was a multiple-time Poughkeepsie Journal all-star. The college campus has been in touch with her parents and has arranged for counselors to be available to the student and her fellow student-athletes.
Haley’s former Dover High School track coach Matt Pool, who spoke with her family, said Friday evening she was on her way to join her fellow track mates, but wouldn’t comment on what injuries the 21-year-old had suffered.
“She’s not going to compete, but she’s on her way to hang out with her teammates and be supportive, and that speaks to her character,” Pool said.
Pool, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Dover Middle School, said that Haley was a stellar athlete.
“She’s by far the best athlete I’ve ever coached,” he said. “We’ve all coached great athletes, but this is a young lady who had the complete package” from drive to athletic ability.
Pool described her as a girl with a fun personality who often was goofy, but knew how to “hit the switch” from having fun to focusing on the task at hand.
“When it came to competitions, before her event, she really found her own little zone and place where she would focus,” he said.
Haley participated in cross country for a season and played field hockey, Pool said, but her senior year she gave up field hockey to focus on track. She wanted to focus on her running and jumping, he said.
Pool recalled one track meet where Haley had to compete in three different events within an hour — pole vault, 400-meter hurdles and the 400-meter relay.
“She was the type of girl who thrived in stressful situations,” he said. “Those events just happened to fall on right after the other. Sarah is an intense young lady, and that’s just the way she runs her life.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Amanda Fries: email@example.com, 845-437-4824; Twitter: @mandy_fries;