Friday marks one year since Harford County Sheriff's Office Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon were murdered, responding to a call for a suspicious person as the lunch hour was beginning at the busy Panera Bread Cafe in Abingdon's Boulevard at Box Hill shopping area.
It was only the fourth time in the 242-year history of the county that a law enforcement officer had died at the hands of another person, the first time it had happened in 30 years and the first time ever that two officers had died under those circumstances on the same day from the same incident.
"It is difficult to believe that it has been one year since our Harford County community and our brave men and women of the Sheriff's Office were shaken to the core by senseless acts of violence. On Friday, our Sheriff's Office family will mark the one year passage of time since our heroes, Senior Deputy Pat Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon, were taken from us," Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said in a statement.
"Our agency is strong. On Feb. 10, we will stand together, in solemn remembrance, with Pat and Mark's families, offering them all the love and support of their Sheriff's Office family strengthened by the countless acts of kindness and generosity from our beloved community," Gahler continued. "The men and women of our great agency continue to have such unwavering support, love and prayers from so many; I know those acts of kindness will help see us all through the difficult days ahead. For that we are eternally thankful."
There will be a number of observances during Friday's "Day of Remembrance" proclaimed by County Executive Barry Glassman.
A moment of silence will be observed at noon at the memorial to the fallen deputies at the Boulevard at Box Hill Shopping Center, near the site of the shootings. Emergency sirens will also sound. Similar observances are planned at the county government administrative in Bel Air and on the campus of Harford Community College.
In the past year, many young people have graduated from local high schools, joined the work force or the military or gone on to college. Babies have been born, loved ones have died.
Life has gone on, but for a few moments today, Harford and its residents will pause and remember where they were on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, reflecting on the events of that day and the loss of the two men who were career law enforcement officers, men whose deaths "devastated their colleagues," as Gahler said at the time.
On that day, at about 11:45 a.m., Senior Deputy Dailey, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office assigned to the court services division, walked into Panera Bread in Abingdon in response to a call for a suspicious person. He was fatally shot where he sat as he tried to talk to the man.
The killer, later identified as 68-year-old David Brian Evans, a homeless man with Harford connections and a troubled past, walked out of the Panera Bread toward his car he had left in a parking lot that was down a short embankment about a block away.
DFC Logsdon, a 16-year veteran assigned to the community services division, was among the first officers on the scene after Senior Deputy Dailey was shot. He went off in the direction Evans had gone.
Minutes later, DFC Logsdon was shot to death by Evans, who was hiding in his car.
Other deputies were arriving and they shot and killed Evans before he could get out.
The murders of Senior Deputy Dailey and DFC Logsdon touched off an outpouring of grief and support nearly as unimaginable as the killings of the two officers.
Senior Deputy Dailey and DFC Logsdon left behind loved ones, a wife, a fiancee, children and an equally shocked community.
Some of their survivors sat down earlier this week with a reporter from The Aegis to talk about the past year and those stories will be found in this edition. All of them mentioned the unwavering support they have received from their families, the loved ones' colleagues, total strangers – the whole Harford County community and beyond.
"Harford Strong" became a rallying cry around the county. Blue and black ribbons and lights were everywhere, signifying mourning for the deputies, support for law enforcement. Many remain.
Thousands of county residents, joined by Governor Larry Hogan, other state and county officials, and fellow officers from around Maryland and as far away as Chicago, came to pay their final respects before or during the deputies' funerals held 10 days apart in February.
Businesses and schools sported messages of condolence and support. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised in a matter of months, from within the community and beyond, for the deputies' families and their union's benevolent fund.
"By the show of solidarity we see here today, they are proud members of the thin blue line," Hogan said during Senior Deputy Dailey's funeral at the Mountain Christian Church New Life Center in Joppa. "They bring honor to their badges every day, who come together to lay their colleague to rest."
Hogan expressed similar sentiments a few days later as he addressed those who filled to overflowing the APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College for DFC Logsdon's funeral.
The governor's support continued in the months after the murders as he stood behind state legislation that named a portion of the road in front of the shopping area where the deputies were killed "Heroes Highway."
It will be a short distance from this road that their families, colleagues and fellow county residents will gather Friday and, for a few short moments, pay a solemn tribute to Senior Deputy Dailey and Deputy First Class Logsdon and thank them once again for their service.
"This past year has been a truly difficult time for everyone at the Sheriff's Office," Gahler said. "Not a day passes when we do not think of Pat and Mark."
"We know this day will bring so much emotion and heartbreak back to the surface," the sheriff continued. "The pain is as fresh in our hearts and minds today as if that tragic and senseless day was yesterday. There's nothing that prepares you for the sudden and tragic loss of good friends while serving their community. Nothing indeed."
"What made the horrific realities of that day even the least bit bearable was the indescribable support we received from our beloved Harford County community," he said. "Being held in your thoughts and prayers is what sustained us during those dark days and will get us through the next phase of the grieving process.
"This year, we have leaned on each other, remembered the importance of family and friends, and carried ourselves in manner that we hope would make Pat and Mark proud."
Aegis staff members Ted Hendricks, Erika Butler and Allan Vought contributed to this report.