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'No closure' Harford sheriff says, in describing events that led to killing of two deputies

Six weeks ago Wednesday was the darkest day in the 242 years of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, the sheriff said Tuesday. Two deputies, a 30-year veteran and a 16-year veteran, were shot to death in the line of duty by a man Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said was intent on hurting someone, most likely his wife and his family he had been tracking over the previous several months

Six weeks ago Wednesday was the darkest day in the 242 years of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said Tuesday, admitting there is "no closure" coming, as he briefed the media on the investigation into the shooting deaths of Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon.

The deputies, a 30-year veteran and a 16-year veteran, were shot to death in the line of duty by a man Gahler said was intent on hurting someone, most likely his ex-wife and his family he had been tracking over the previous several months.

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"We'll never know. But we believe his intention was to take some sort of action against her and his family," Gahler said.

The deaths of Senior Deputy Dailey and DFC Logsdon rocked not just the Sheriff's Office but the county as a whole, raising questions about exactly what happened the day of the shootings on Feb. 10, who the suspected shooter, David Brian Evans, was and what his motives were.

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Gahler attempted to answer many of those questions Tuesday, as he spoke at the Southern Precinct in Edgewood. Two hours earlier, he shared the same information with Sheriff's Office members gathered in the Harford County Council chambers in Bel Air.

Harford County Sheriff Office's dispatch February 10, 2106, detail the shootings of Dep. Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon. Authorities say David Brian Evans, 68, killed Dailey and Logsdon at a Panera restaurant in a shopping center and nearby apartment complex in Abingdon. He was then killed by deputies who returned gun fire.

"There's no closure coming," Gahler said. "I think it does help get through the next day, but there's no 100 percent healing coming."

The investigation has been led by Det. Chris Sergent of the Criminal Investigation Division, who said it was an honor for him.

"It's the least I can do for my friends and for my colleagues," Sergent said.

In the last six weeks, Sergent said, he has conducted about 90 interviews, investigated social media and filed a court order for Evans' cell phone to obtain call details and cell locations.

Early life

Evans was born David Brian Feeley on Dec. 25, 1947 in Baltimore.

He was adopted on Nov. 1, 1957 at age 10 by Albert Evans and changed his name to his stepfather's. He had several half- brothers and sisters.

Evans graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1965 and joined the Army, then entered the University of Maryland on a GI bill after his active duty service. He graduated with an engineering degree in 1976.

In 1972, he married Elizabeth, the woman whom he is suspected of shooting on Dec. 31, 1996; she worked in the medical field. They had their first child in 1977 and had two more together.

Evans and his wife, who is now Elizabeth Rupp, divorced in 1989 and Rupp moved with her children to Georgia; Evans, who had visitation rights, followed. Family members said Evans was a heavy drinker and would assault them.

He had a hard time keeping work. He lived in Pennsylvania at one point and was dating a woman from Boston.

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"He had trouble maintaining a job when there became conflict," Gahler said.

Stalked ex-wife

When Rupp moved back to Maryland, living on Laurentum Parkway in Box Hill, Evans followed her again and began to stalk her.

Evans was suspected of shooting Rupp outside her home in 1996, at 5:30 a.m.. She said she never heard a shot, but saw blood then felt the wound on the back of her neck.

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler pauses for a moment to compose himself as he listens to Tuesday to the 911 tapes from the fatal shootings of two deputies last month.
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler pauses for a moment to compose himself as he listens to Tuesday to the 911 tapes from the fatal shootings of two deputies last month. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

The 22 caliber round found after Rupp was shot was kept in evidence and had a piece of trim caught in that matched Rupp's coat.

Ballistics testing matched the bullet to a rifle found in Evans' trunk after he was shot and killed by deputies, Gahler said. The rifle had a homemade silencer, which Gahler said explained why Rupp never heard a shot.

The rifle was test fired and "subsequent comparison testing confirmed the bullet from 1996 shooting of Elizabeth Rupp was fired from this rifle," according to Gahler.

Evans was never picked up by police or charged in that case because he "slipped off the grid," Gahler said, despite a rather exhaustive attempted to locate him.

In Florida, where Evans fled after allegedly shooting Rupp, he had several addresses and was pawning items for extra cash. He let his vehicle registration lapse because he didn't have any money and he stole license plates to make his car, a 2004 Ford Taurus, appear valid.

He left Florida in April 2015 after he fled from police who approached him while he was sleeping in his car in a parking lot, Gahler said.

Evans gave the officer his legal name and when the officer went back to run it, Evans fled, knowing he had stolen license plates on the car. A brief pursuit followed, but it was called off "because it wasn't a crime of violence."

Back in Maryland

After that incident, Gahler said, it is believed Evans came back to Maryland. He began to frequent the Panera Bread restaurant in Abingdon, where he eventually shoot Senior Deputy Dailey.

Employees there said they began seeing him as early as last summer and he "appeared clean cut and tidy." He was still driving the Taurus, which was spotted several times in the parking lot. He was always kind, but was very quiet and kept to himself, the employees said in police interviews.

But by December, Evans had changed, according to the interviews.

His appearance "began to degrade" and he was digging in the trash in the restaurant and the Dumpster outside for food.

One of Rupp's sons thought he saw Evans at Panera on Jan. 6 and called 911. The operator transferred him to the Southern Precinct; he was told to call the warrant unit, which the son told police he never did.

On Feb. 10 at 11:40 a.m., Rupp called 911 to report that she thought she saw her ex-husband at Panera. She provided a description of Evans as well as the nature of their relationship, and that she thought there was an active warrant for him, according to 911 and police recordings and other materials that were released by Harford County Tuesday in response to numerous freedom of information requests.

The call was dispatched at 11:46 a.m. and Senior Deputy Dailey, the closes in the vicinity, was the first to respond and arrived at 11:53 a.m.. He waited about 90 seconds before he went inside, Gahler said.

"I'm parked around back, I'll see if I can see anybody," Senior Deputy Dailey is heard saying on the 911 tapes.

"That's the last dispatch from Pat," Gahler said, tearing up.

12 seconds

Senior Deputy Dailey and Evans had a very short interaction, the sheriff said, about 12 seconds.

Senior Deputy Dailey asked Evans for his ID and then to show his hands; Evans immediately drew his handgun and fired, hitting Senior Deputy Dailey once above the left eyebrow.

Sgt. Scott Johnson arrived at Panera at 11:54 a.m., just seconds after the shooting, reporting "man down, man down."

"[Badge] 186 has been shot. 10-3, 10-3," a first-responder, identified as Johnson, yells, signaling first that Senior Deputy Dailey had been shot, then that there is a clear-the-air emergency.

"Dispatch all units, 10-3 for Panera Bread," the dispatcher says.

"I need 10-52. 10-52," a call from the scene says, a code for ambulance needed.

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In the seconds between when Senior Deputy Dailey was shot and Johnson arrived, Evans ran out the back door.

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"In our favor here, we had a witness brave enough to follow the suspect and give us his direction of travel," Gahler said.

Evans had run back to his car, which had been disabled in the parking lot of Park View senior apartments deputies believe since December, where he was sitting in the front seat, but reclined as far as he could go.

In pursuit

Two pairs of deputies approached Evans vehicle. He fired three shots from the car, hitting DFC Logsdon twice, one in the vest and once in the left hip.

The first moments of the Harford County Sheriff Office's dispatch on February 10 prior to the shooting at Panera Bread.

The bullet that hit the hip traveled through DFC Logsdon's torso and severed his interior vena cava, the artery that returns blood to the heart, Gahler said.

Two deputies coming upon Evans car from the Park View Apartments side, DFC M. Anthony DeMarino and DFC Thomas Wehrle, both eight-year veterans of the sheriff's office – were the ones who fatally shot him.

Wehrle fired 17 rounds, DeMarino 16.

After the incident, Evans car was searched; four guns were found in the trunk and a handgun was found in a lunch-type bag in the front passenger floorboard.

His weapons, all legally obtained, according to Gahler, included a Smith & Wesson 3953 and Model 36, a Ruger 10/22, M77 and Mini 14 and a Winchester 1330 Defender.

Also found in the car were more than 2,700 rounds of ammunition, Evans' cell phone with a search history that included information on searching for his ex-wife and children and some personal effects.

It was the Ruger 10/22 that was determined to be the weapon used to shoot at Rupp in 1996, Gahler said.

'Glad the suspect was killed'

While some parts of the investigation are continuing, much of it has been wrapped up.

After reviewing statements of various deputies involved, Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly determined the two deputies who shot and killed Evans were justified in their use of force.

"I find their decision to use deadly force against the suspect was entirely justified. Not only did they know that Deputy Dailey had been shot, but they knew that Deputy Logsdon and other deputies were being fired upon," said Cassilly, who attended Tuesday's briefing. "They were entirely justified based on their desire to project the other deputies. I commend their decision to quickly act."

Had he had to prosecute case, he said, it would been a "very unsatisfactory" one.

"Frankly folks, I'm glad the suspect was killed. I think that had this been a prosecution, it would have been a very unsatisfactory prosecution to only ask for a life sentence for someone who just murdered two police officer," Cassilly said. "This case calls for the reinstitution of the death penalty," especially in a set of circumstances like the shootings of deputies Dailey and Logsdon.

Baltimore Sun reporters Alison Knezevich, Carrie Wells, Sean Welsh and Ian Duncan contributed to this article.

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