Residents posted tributes to officers who have fallen in the line of duty in downtown Bel Air at the Harford County Sheriff's Office and county courthouse. (David Anderson and Ulysses Munoz / BSMG)
Not far from the site of Wednesday's fatal shootings of two Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies, the American flag on Bill Knoedler's front yard has been lowered to half-staff.
"It's just a shame," Knoedler, who has lived on Woodsdale Road in Abingdon since 1963, said Friday afternoon. "This guy was bad. It's a sad, sad day."
In addition to lowering flags, all over the county signs in front of businesses, firehouses and homes proclaimed their support for the police and sympathy for the families of the fallen deputies, and memorial tributes – hand-lettered notes, flowers, balloons, stuffed animals - were placed around locations where the shootings occurred and at Sheriff's Office buildings in Bel Air, Edgewood and Jarrettsville.
Senior Deputies Patrick Dailey, 52, a 30-year-veteran, and Mark Logsdon, 43, a 16-year-veteran, were fatally shot when they went to the Panera Bread at Abingdon's Boulevard at Box Hill shopping area late Wednesday morning in response to a complaint regarding David Brian Evans, 68. Police say Evans shot Senior Deputy Dailey inside the restaurant and then shot Senior Deputy Logsdon as he pursued Evans near a senior apartment building. Evans was then shot to death by other deputies.
Black bunting framed the front of the Sheriff's Office headquarters in downtown Bel Air, and bouquets of flowers and letters of condolence had been placed near the front entrance. The Maryland state flag hung at half-staff on the right-hand side of the building.
The Sheriff's Office, which dates to 1774, according to a definitive history published in 2006 by retired deputy Terry Noye, is Harford's chief law enforcement agency. While there have been previous line-of-duty deaths involving deputies and other personnel, the fatal shootings Wednesday appear to be the first involving active duty deputies, of which there are approximately 290 among the agency's nearly 600 employees.
'May their spirit endure'
Among the tributes left in front of headquarters, the Duryea family wrote: "In honored memory of the fallen."
"May their spirit endure," the note continued. "With love and gratitude to those who keep the watch. May you find healing."
Bunting also framed a window on the Courtland Street side of the Harford County Courthouse, which is across from the sheriff's building. An electronic candle with a blue light – in honor of law enforcement – glowed from the window.
Inside, Deputy Michael McMillon, Deputy Ed Wolf and Sgt. Paul Cole, monitored the security station, performing their normal duties of greeting visitors, then directing them to put belongings on a conveyor belt through a scanner and walk through a metal detector.
All three wore a black ribbon with a blue stripe over their Sheriff's Office badges.
"A lot of the people coming in the court today have expressed their condolences," McMillon said.
McMillon is a member of the Sheriff's Office Honor Guard, on which Senior Deputies Dailey and Logsdon had both served. He was briefly overcome with emotion as he worked.
"The tough time is next week," he said, referring to the viewings and the two funerals, which will be Wednesday, Feb. 17 for Senior Deputy Dailey and Saturday, Feb. 21 for Senior Deputy Logsdon.
"You just don't have the words to say anything," she continued. "It's very heartbreaking and frightening, and I don't know the solution to this gun violence."
Hall said she has come to know many deputies during her 15 years working at the courthouse.
"I have come to appreciate police officers and the job they do, protecting the public, and they're good guys," she said. "They're, by and large, family guys wanting to make a difference."
Fire, EMS reaches out
The county's firefighting and EMS community, whose members include Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement, is also feeling the loss. Sr. Deputy Dailey was a long-time member of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company, as are his two sons.
In Havre de Grace, a sign was posted on the grounds of the Susquehanna Hose Company's House 1 on Juniata Street: "Please keep HCSO in your thoughts and prayers."
Black bunting framed the sign at the entrance of the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps house off Route 155.
"It's amazing how close the fire, the EMS and the police departments are," Corps Capt. Dale Clark said. "It's just one huge family."
Clark said two Ambulance Corps members, one who is his lieutenant, also are Sheriff's Office deputies.
"We have a chaplain that is pretty much on call right now to be with them," Clark said.
He said his lieutenant and Senior Deputy Dailey were close friends, and they had lunch together every day.
"In the summertime, Pat would come up here and eat lunch with us, [we] can't say enough good about him," Clark said
Clark said a woman who lives in Havre de Grace and is married to a deputy visited the Ambulance Corps with her children Wednesday, seeking community support after the shooting.
"We just opened our arms and said, 'Come on down,'" Clark recalled.
The color of the Ambulance Company building's exterior lights has been changed to blue, in addition to hanging the black ribbon as a tribute, Clark said.
Ambulance Corps officials also plan to send representatives to the services of both deputies.
Clark said it does not matter whether people are firefighters, EMS workers or in state, county or municipal police agencies, "we're all in this together."
'In our thoughts and prayers'
Along the busy Route 924 corridor between Abingdon, where the fatal shootings occurred, and Bel Air, flags were lowered at businesses and in front of Patterson Mill Middle/High School.
"In our thoughts and prayers," read a large banner fronting Route 924 along the fence by the Boulevard at Box Hill. The sign at Park View at Box Hill had a small clutch of flowers by the base and an American flag and mourning ribbon affixed to the top.
The Park View at Box Hill senior housing, where the second shooting took place, also had a few flowers and balloons tied to its sign on Box Hill South Parkway.
The Panera Bread bakery-café remained closed Friday, but a steady steam of people passed by, some to leave tokens of remembrance outside the door, others to look.
When two young people drove up to the Panera and seemed to be disappointed it was closed, Linda Davis, of Forest Hill, brusquely informed them of the reason.
"This is where those deputies were killed, that you saw on the news," she told them.
Later, Davis explained: "My ex-husband was a police officer, so you always hold your breath, and I have a nephew on the force, so I was scared to death it was him."
Davis, who worked at the county detention center, which is run by the Sheriff's Office, for 18 years, said she did not personally know either of the deputies but said she was moved by the violence.
"The two of them are down at the same time, and it scared me that it was related to domestic violence," she said about the event. "I know so many people going through this right now."
"It's just sad. We live in a very violent culture," she said, adding she believes such an act could happen anywhere.
"I mean, our schools aren't safe anymore. It's scary, the more we get away from God and a higher power," she said.
Brooke Muller-Thym , of Havre de Grace, brought her two daughters, Emma, 6, and Charlotte, 3, to lay flowers at the Panera. She said she just barely missed being at the Panera when the shootings occurred, a day when local schools had canceled classes because of early morning icy road conditions.
"We came here on the day of [the shootings] and we didn't know what was going on," Muller-Thym said. "There were so many things that kept us from getting here a little earlier."
"We said a prayer to the two officers that kept us safe. I tried to explain [to the girls] that God has a plan and he sent us two heroes to keep us safe that day," she said.
Mary Lee Hoos, of Abingdon, also stopped by the Panera memorial Friday and ended up stepping away from it with tears pouring down her face.
"He was a husband and a father and gave his all to all of us," Hoos, through her tears, said about Dailey.
"My brother was a policeman. I know what they go through," she said. "You just pray every night they are going to come home safe."
When she heard of the shootings, "I was shocked. Nothing happens like that around here. It's just tragic for both families - three families, when you think about it."
Kristina Byrd, 23, who grew up in Abingdon came with her mother to pay their respects.
"This kind of stuff doesn't happen in Abingdon. It just doesn't," she said, noting she was in Pikesville the day it happened. "It hit so close to home. It was kind of shocking because all the businesses were on lockdown."
Knoedler, the Woodsdale Road resident, called the shootings "unbelievable." His wife laid two Mass cards by Panera earlier, he said.
"We were in here and my stepdaughter had ordered stuff from Panera Bread. Of course it never came," he said.