Lt. Brian Lee Sewell, 33, Md. National Guardsman

Lt. Brian Lee Sewell, a Maryland National Guardsman whose eight-year career with the Baltimore police ended amid dispute, died Saturday at Andrews Air Force Base in Virginia. The cause of the death, which a military spokesman described as accidental, is being investigated.

Lieutenant Sewell, a sergeant whom the Army posthumously promoted to lieutenant, was 33.


Born in Needles, Calif., he grew up in Harford County. He graduated from Bel Air High School, where he was a state champion gymnast, and from the University of Baltimore.

A 14-year veteran of the National Guard, Lieutenant Sewell served in Operation Desert Storm.


After five years with the Baltimore police, he was charged in 2000 with criminal misconduct after being accused of planting fake drugs on an 18-year-old man. Police dropped the case in January 2001 after evidence in the case was discovered missing from a police internal affairs office after a burglary. But in November 2001 an internal police disciplinary panel found him guilty of departmental misconduct, and he was fired from the force.

Last year, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that he deserved a new disciplinary trial because Mayor Martin O'Malley and then-Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris had said before the hearing that he was guilty. Lieutenant Sewell resigned this year and collected back pay.

A member of the Dundalk-based 175th Infantry Regiment, his unit was called to active duty in January to protect Andrews, home to the president's airplane, Air Force One.

A member of the National Rifle Association, he was also an avid environmentalist who enjoyed running and reading. In 1986, a research project he developed on the effect of zero gravity on the gypsy moth went up with the doomed space shuttle Challenger.

A private Mass will be held at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Hickory at 11 a.m. Monday. Interment with military honors will be held at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

He is survived by his wife of three years, Melissa Lee January Sewell; his son, Jonathan P. Sewell of Bel Air; his daughter, Caelan A. Sewell of Bel Air; his parents, Winfield E. and Margaret Ann Gilliam Sewell of Bel Air; and his brother, Michael A. Sewell of Bel Air.