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Shooter sought in killing of Md. trooper

Police recruits searched the parking lot in Forestville, Md., where Trooper First Class Wesley Brown was slain yesterday. Police recruits searched the parking lot in Forestville, Md., where Trooper First Class Wesley Brown was slain yesterday. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)
Associated Press / June 12, 2010

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FORESTVILLE, Md. — Police are searching for the person who shot and killed an off-duty Maryland state trooper yesterday soon after the officer escorted an unruly customer from a restaurant over a disputed bill.

Trooper First Class Wesley W. Brown, 24, escorted the customer Thursday night from an Applebee’s, and when Brown left the restaurant around 12:40 a.m. yesterday, someone shot him, Prince George’s County Police spokesman Major Andy Ellis said.

Ellis said police had not identified a suspect.

State Police Superintendent Colonel Terrence Sheridan said earlier that the disorderly customer, who fled, was the shooter, but Ellis said investigators had not been able to confirm that.

The customer was termed a person of interest and police were trying to determine if other people were involved. Investigators found multiple shell casings, but there was no indication more than one weapon was used.

Brown, who wore a jacket that identified him as an officer, was talking on a phone in the parking lot when he was shot, State Police said. He was working a second job as a security guard at the restaurant, as was a retired state police trooper who was also present.

Covered in blood, Brown made it back inside the restaurant and passed out, police said. Ellis said that Brown was wearing a vest, but it did not stop the bullet from hitting his heart. He died at a local hospital.

“This is a cold-blooded killing,’’ Ellis said. “This person is dangerous.’’

Ellis urged the suspect to surrender.

“We’re going to find out who he is. There’s no question,’’ Ellis said. “There has never been an unsolved police shooting’’ in the county.

Investigators have spoken to more than 50 witnesses who were at the restaurant Thursday night, Ellis said. Detectives will also review surveillance video from the restaurant and surrounding businesses.

Governor Martin O’Malley announced that flags would be flown at half-staff in Brown’s honor.

Brown’s cousin Kenneth Pollard, 48, visited the scene yesterday.

“He was a good guy and he tried to do the right thing and somebody took his life,’’ he said.

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