Scenes from the funeral and burial of Harford County Sheriff's Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon. Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and DFC Logsdon were shot and killed in the line of duty Feb. 10. (The Baltimore Sun)
Mark Logsdon told the Harford County Sheriff's Office in his job application 16 years ago: "All I have to offer is hard work and dedication."
Logsdon, then 28, told his future employer, "I feel as though I am a great asset to each team I've ever belonged to, and I hope to continue that for the rest of my life."
In the end, he would become one of three deputies in the agency's 242-year history to be shot and killed on duty.
On Saturday, thousands filled the arena at Harford Community College to pay tribute to Deputy 1st Class Logsdon, who died Feb. 10 after being shot in an Abingdon shopping complex along with Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey.
A grateful community lined the roadside as his body was carried to Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium. People held handwritten signs saying "Harford Strong" and "Blue Lives Matter." Some, like Grayson Kempt, waved flags.
"We want to show our support for the men and women who protect our lives every day," Kempt, of Parkville, said as he stood for three hours with his family on Providence Road overlooking Interstate 695, waiting for Logsdon's funeral procession to pass below.
"We want to let the police know: We stand with them — not against them," the 20-year-old said.
Mourners recalled Logsdon, 43, as a "mountain of man," someone who was louder than anyone else in the room and prone to quoting the movie "Dumb and Dumber" at the most inappropriate times. He was a combat veteran of the Iraq War, an enthusiastic golfer and the soon-to-be grandfather to a baby girl due in April.
"Mark was just intoxicating. He would walk into a room, and it's like the room would explode with laughter," said Cpl. Adam Argenbright of the Maryland State Police.
Argenbright, who was best man at Logsdon's wedding, recalled the nine months he spent on a National Guard deployment to Guantanamo Bay with Logsdon. The two men, partners on a six-person team, "bled and we fought and sometimes we got hurt."
But in his eulogy, Argenbright focused on the happier moments. He told stories of their golf outings on a course without grass in Cuba and remembered the messages Logsdon would write on golf balls for others to find: "You're in the woods" or "Why are you here?"
Argenbright's remarks added moments of levity to the somber, two-hour ceremony that began with an honor guard leading Logsdon's casket into the arena, followed by the mournful sound of bagpipes and the march of the pipe and drum corps.
Gov. Larry Hogan paused in front of the flag-draped casket, laying his hand on it before climbing the dais to speak. The deputy was awarded the Medal of Valor and had previously been recognized for compassion and bravery for persuading a suicidal man to "put down the gun and get help," the governor said.
"Our entire state grieves the loss of one of its heroes today," Hogan said, his voice shaking. "Though we say farewell to a cherished member of the law enforcement family, a brother in that elite group, the finest, we express a heartfelt thank you, and we celebrate his incredible life."
The deputies were killed by a man authorities identified as David Brian Evans, 68, who also was fatally shot that day. Authorities say officials were called to the Panera Bread restaurant in Abingdon after someone spotted Evans, who had eluded law enforcement nearly 20 years ago under suspicion of shooting his ex-wife.
Evans shot Dailey inside the restaurant and then Logsdon outside a nearby senior living community before deputies killed him, according to authorities.
Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler said that, as a deputy, Logsdon "exceeded all of our expectations."
"I ask each of you: What greater love can you have than to risk your life in service to your country and what greater love can you have than to give your life in service to your community?" the sheriff said, calling his agency "a family with 600 broken hearts."
Gahler recalled visiting Logsdon's desk on the "unbearable day" the deputies were killed. The sheriff said he was struck to find "challenge coins," mementos that recognize Harford's fallen deputies.
"It's a gesture of respect that Mark and many others practice," Gahler said, asking his deputies to consider only three "what if" questions: "What if we didn't have a community like we have here in Harford County, full of people who have provided our deputies and our families and Mark's family with overwhelming support and love?
"What if we didn't have our sheriff's office family, a group of courageous men and women? … What if we didn't have heroes like Mark Logsdon?"
Gahler read passages from Logsdon's application to the sheriff's office, detailing how working as a patrol officer was a "lifelong goal" for Logsdon, who proudly wore his first badge — a gift from his uncle — when he was 4 years old.
As a member of the community services division, Logsdon was involved in much of the sheriff office's outreach efforts, including the neighborhood watch, the "Badges for Baseball" program, bicycle rodeos and safety courses for seniors.
He served 12 years in the Army, including eight as a military police officer.
Outside the service, Tracy Sellers and others who served in the Maryland National Guard with Logsdon gathered to wait on the procession to the burial grounds, telling stories of their deployments to pass the time as hundreds of cars, police cruisers, motorcycles and ambulances waited to follow the hearse to the grave site. The Norrisville and Bel Air fire companies set up a stand to hand out doughnuts, hot chocolate and coffee.
"We're glad to be able to share in this — he was part of our family, too," said Sellers, who deployed with Logsdon to Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Sellers said Logsdon was "the connector, the magnet that pulled us together."
The solemn ceremony continued at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
Logsdon's patrol car was draped with black bunting and parked near his grave in the Fallen Heroes section of the cemetery.
Surrounding the vault were officers from across the state and from cities as far away as Chicago and Aurora, Colo.
Ten law enforcement helicopters flew over the cemetery in loose formation, followed by a 21-gun salute and a sounding of taps. A dispatcher announced the "end of watch" for Logsdon at 12:06 p.m., Feb. 10.
Logsdon is survived by his wife, Jennifer; three children, Darin, Bethany and Megan; his parents, John Patrick and Debra Ann; and a sister, Riki.
Although no members of his immediate family spoke at the service, the sheriff's office posted a message from his wife on its Facebook page.
"We dreamed of the days of retirement, warm weather and endless golf courses," Jennifer Logsdon wrote. "Now, I would give everything away and live in a cardboard box, if I could just be with Mark again. He was — he is — my world, and I don't know how I will move forward without him by my side. He was truly special."
Word of Logsdon's death rippled through the law enforcement community, Argenbright said, not just in Maryland but across the United States and the world.
Constables from Canada asked Argenbright to offer their condolences, as did officers in Bermuda and a member of SEAL Team Six in Baghdad.
It was Logsdon's boisterous attitude and always loud "How ya doing?" that Argenbright said usually won people over.
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Erika Butler and David Anderson contributed to this article.