Members of David Brian Evans' estranged family were alarmed to see him several times in the last month at the Panera Bread restaurant in Abingdon, calling police to report that the man they say shot his former wife almost 20 years ago was back in town.
On Wednesday morning, his former wife saw him there again and called police. Harford County sheriff's Senior Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon responded — and were shot to death by Evans, who was killed by return fire.
More details emerged Thursday about Evans, 68, whose son says had abused his family, and about the officers who died at his hands. Dailey, 52, and Logsdon, 43, were veterans of the Marines and the Army, respectively, who left behind children, parents and what Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler said were "absolutely" devastated colleagues.
"He had a history of violence, so none of this is shocking to me," Evans' son, Jeremie, said Thursday outside his home in Towson.
While the sheriff's office initially said it appeared that Evans had targeted law enforcement officers, Jeremie Evans said he believes his father, who had left Maryland years ago and more recently lived in Florida and Pennsylvania, had returned to continue stalking and threatening his mother.
His mother, Elizabeth Rupp, had been shot in the neck as she left her Abingdon home on New Year's Eve 1996, according to an article in The Baltimore Sun the following day. According to WBAL-TV, the Harford sheriff's office asked residents at the time to contact them if they saw her former husband, David Evans, whom they wanted to question in connection with the incident.
"We are probing into everything, including that," Gahler said in an interview Thursday with The Sun. "We've heard a whole bunch of different stories about that incident. The whole thing, including how it happened, or if it happened, is all under investigation." There is no record of charges ever being filed against Evans in connection with the incident.
Jeremie Evans said his father was physically abusive, even after his parents divorced in the 1990s, when they were living in Georgia.
"During the divorce, he was very controlling. He threatened my mom. He would show up and just say, 'I'm going to stay at the house.' He was just always trying to intimidate," he said. "He came back at one point during this whole process, and he beat my mom pretty bad. He stomped her. She was on the ground. He stomped her multiple times in the chest, and I was watching."
Even after Rupp and her three children moved back to Maryland, David Evans continued to harass her, he said, appearing outside their house and watching them from a distance. And then, on New Year's Eve 1996, as his mother was leaving for work, "she feels this searing pain," Jeremie Evans said.
"She basically got hit by a bullet, in and out of the back of her neck. She has a small scar," he said. "Luckily, it hit the shoulder of her big wool coat and redirected the bullet."
He said police determined she was hit with a long rifle, which Evans believes was a gun his father had given to him but ultimately kept for himself.
"They knew all of the things that surrounded this, but of course he evaded the police then too," Jeremie Evans said. "That's been his whole life on the run."
Little could be learned this week about David Evans, whose last known address was in Pennsylvania, according to his son. A spokeswoman for the University of Maryland, College Park confirmed that he had received a master's degree in civil engineering there in 1974.
Evans called his father "just trouble."
"He was a drinker. He had emotional problems," he said. "He didn't deal well. He had run-ins with the law."
There is a warrant for David Evans' arrest stemming from an incident in Maitland, Fla., where in April a police officer saw Evans asleep in a car in a parking lot. According to the officer's report, Evans appeared to be living in the car, which had clothes hanging from a clothesline in the back seat and "trash everywhere."
When the officer checked the license plate number, Evans "got nervous" and sped away. He was charged with obstructing police and traffic violations, but failed to appear at his court date.
Given Evans' troubled past, his estranged family said they were concerned when, after having no contact with him for years, he was spotted at the Panera several times in the past month. Jeremie Evans said his younger brother called the sheriff's office about a month ago and was referred to the warrant section. Then, on Wednesday, their mother called authorities, leading to the confrontations that left two deputies dead, he said.
Dailey, a 30-year veteran of the force, approached Evans in the Panera and, without warning, was shot, police said. The deputy was flown by state police helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center. After witnesses told other officers where the disheveled-looking Evans ran, officers found him in a car parked outside a nearby apartment complex. Shots were exchanged, killing Evans. Logsdon was taken by ambulance to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where he later died.
Jeremie Evans said he believes his father had returned with plans to attack his mother. But he wonders if the responding officers were warned that David Evans could be dangerous.
"I feel like they went in there unprepared," he said, adding that witness accounts made it sound as if the officers were responding to a homeless person, not an armed suspect.
"Harford County let these guys down," he said. The two officers "paid the ultimate price. They are heroes."
Gahler said investigators are still sorting through the circumstances that led to Dailey's being sent to Panera. "There was a call that was specific to the individual, and that's why the deputy responded," he said. "But as far as who exactly made the call, that's something that's still up in the air. I know the ex-wife has said she made the call, and that may be the case. I have not heard that directly back from our investigators."
Harford County officials said they would not be releasing 911 tapes from the incident, which might shed more light on what deputies were told as they approached the scene.
"At this point, it is an open and active investigation, and it is not releasable at this time," said Susan Ayers, manager of the Harford County emergency operations center.
Cindy Mumby, a spokeswoman for Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, said officials had not had an opportunity to analyze the tapes and determine if they could be released. "We're not fulfilling this request at this point, until we've had an opportunity to do this review," Mumby said.
The Panera remained closed Thursday.
Jeremie Evans said he was thankful that no one else inside the restaurant was injured, and is relieved that his father can no longer hurt his family.
Too many women in abusive relationships do not receive the help they need, he said.
"Somehow the system broke down," he said.
Gov. Larry Hogan, who ordered state flags to fly at half-staff, met with the families of the slain deputies, as well as with Gahler and other members of the force, said spokesman Matthew A. Clark.
The weapon used in the shooting was legally purchased by the suspect in Pennsylvania in 1993, Gahler said.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Yvonne Wenger, Ian Duncan, David Anderson, Erika Butler, Colin Campbell, Tim Prudente, Justin Fenton, Erin Cox, Kevin Rector and Bryna Zumer contributed to this article.
Funeral information for Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey was announced Thursday. Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Mountain Christian Church, 1824 Mountain Road, Joppa.