Maryland state trooper shot, killed
This post was updated at 11:30 a.m.
An off-duty Maryland state police officer was shot and killed early Friday in the parking lot of a Forestville area restaurant, police said.
Wesley Brown, 24, was shot shortly before 12:40 a.m. at the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar on Donnell Drive after an incident inside the restaurant involving a “disorderly” customer who refused to pay a bill, Col. Michael Blow told reporters.
Brown, who was working part-time as a security officer at the Applebee's, escorted the individual outside, police said. About 30 minutes later, a gunman ambushed the trooper as he exited the restaurant. The man who disputed his bill is considered a “person of interest,” police said, but they are not limiting their search to him.
Brown appeared to have been shot without warning as he spoke on a mobile phone, Terrence B. Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, told reporters. Brown was wearing a jacket that displayed the word “police” and he had a marked police car in front of the restaurant, police said.
The wounded trooper stumbled into the restaurant covered in blood, at which point patrons called 911, police said.
Brown was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. It wasn't clear how many times he had been shot, but multiple casings were found in the parking lot, Sheridan said.
“We have recovered a lot of evidence,” Maj. Andy Ellis, a county police department spokesman, said.
Police describe the suspect, who fled on foot, as an African American male between about 5’ 6” and 5' 8" weighing about 130 pounds with short hair and a little bit of a beard who was wearing a Hugo Boss jacket. He is considered armed and dangerous, police said.
A perimeter was set up immediately after police arrived at the scene and a search is ongoing. More than 50 witnesses have been interviewed, police said.
“We won’t stop until we find this man,” Sheridan said.
Gov. Martin O'Malley told reporters that the investigation is “very, very active.”
“There are a small number of brutal, cold people that would take another’s life without thinking about it,” O'Malley said. “That’s what happened here.”
Brown, a 3 ½-year veteran of the Maryland State Police, was an active member of the Seat Pleasant community, where he attended Crossland High School and studied criminal justice at Prince George’s Community College Community College in Largo. He was the youngest cadet in his police academy class to graduate.
In 2007, he founded a mentoring group, Young Men Enlightening Younger Men, that would take teenagers on field trips throughout the D.C. area to places like the National Zoo and museums, and bring in professionals to give talks.
Brown described the group’s mission on its Web site to help kids struggling academically.
“What happens to those who try, but who just don’t make it because of poor school systems or a lack of support from home? Where does he go?” Brown wrote. “We believe that if a young man is trying to make himself a better man and a productive member of society, then we are PROUD of him.”
Brown found common cause with struggling kids, having run into problems himself as a high school student, according to a 2007 Maryland Gazette article. At one point, he was kicked out of school for fighting.
“When I got expelled, it kind of upset my family,” Brown told the paper. “So from then I had to do right. That’s why I started working, staying out of trouble and doing well in school.”
Eugene Grant, the mayor of Seat Pleasant, said Brown “was a tremendous light in our community.”
“He was an excellent example of someone who not only served and protected, but also gave back to his community,” Grant said.
“He always had a smile on his face,” he said.
Brown had recently become engaged to be married.
The last Maryland State trooper to die in the line of duty was Mickey C. Lippy, 34, a trooper and paramedic who was killed when his helicopter crashed in bad weather in Prince George's County.
June 11, 2010; 4:59 AM ET
Categories: Police Shootings , Pr. George's | Tags: Forestville Md., Maryland state police, Prince George's County, officer shot
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