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Press Release

Murderer of Virginia State Police Special Agent Sentenced to Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Weems man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for his illegal possession of a firearm that was used to kill Virginia State Police Special Agent Michael Walter in May 2017.

“As a front line law enforcement officer protecting the citizens of Virginia, Special Agent Walter risked his life to protect the people of Richmond,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “From his time as a United States Marine who participated in Operation Desert Storm, to his many years as a veteran Virginia State Police Special Agent, and as the founder of the non-profit youth Blackhawk wrestling program, Special Agent Walter’s life was one of service. As a loving husband and father to his three children, Special Agent Walter was loved, adored, and idolized by his friends, family, and by all that knew him. Due to Travis Ball’s selfish and brutal crime, the Walter family, the Virginia State Police, and the Commonwealth of Virginia will never be the same. At a time of unprecedented and appropriate focus on interactions between individuals and law enforcement, we must not lose sight of the ultimate sacrifice given by the good and honorable law enforcement officers, and their surviving loved ones, who protect and serve for the rest of us.”

According to court documents, on May 26, 2017, Travis Ball, 30, shot and killed Special Agent Walter during a traffic stop in the Mosby Court public housing community in Richmond. At the time of the murder, Ball possessed a FIE, model Titan, .25 caliber, semi-automatic pistol. Believing that he was wanted in Lancaster County for a probation violation, Ball resisted arrested and shot Special Agent Walter once in the head. Text messages found on Ball’s cellphone later revealed that two days prior to the murder he told his girlfriend he was not going back to jail and would “end up killing something.” On May 27, 2017, Special Agent Walter died from the gunshot wound inflicted by Ball.

The sentence imposed in this case will run consecutive to the 36 year sentence for capital murder that Ball received in the City of Richmond Circuit Court related to the murder of Special Agent Walter.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erik S. Siebert and Stephen E. Anthony prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-128.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated June 18, 2020

Violent Crime