A woman who dated the Virginia bus station gunman says he frequently expressed his hatred toward police and once nearly choked her to death years after she broke up with him.
A former girlfriend of James Brown III, of Aurora, Illinois, spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because she said she fears for her safety.
Court records show that a judge granted a protection order against Brown in 2011 by his ex-girlfriend's request. Brown pleaded guilty in 2012 to domestic battery and aggravated battery of pregnant woman. He was released from prison in March 2014.
Aurora Police Lt. Jeff Wiencek said he "recognized him immediately," and said he was "surprised it didn't happen in our town."
Authorities said Brown shot Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, 37, multiple times Thursday in Richmond before he was killed by two other troopers, police said. Dermyer, uniformed in dark blue fatigues, had been participating with about a dozen other troopers in a training exercise at the bus station.
Brown was seated in a restaurant by the front entrance of the station, police said. Surveillance video showed him get up and go to his bags near the front entrance. At 2:40 p.m., Dermyer approached Brown, who left his bags, pulled out a .40-caliber, semiautomatic pistol, and fired, police said.
Two plainclothes troopers returned fire, and Brown was taken into custody in the restaurant, police said. He was taken to VCU Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
"Anytime you see a younger come and grow up and leave or whatever the circumstances are it's difficult," said George Wells, who was Brown's next door neighbor in Aurora.
Wells said Brown lived with his aunt for several years and that she helped raise him. He added that Brown needed help.
It's always a disappointment that we can't get them to stay youngsters," Wells said.
Lt. Wiencek said the tragedy is "a black-eye on our town" and a huge loss to the Virginia state police
"Our heart obviously goes out to them," Wiencek said.