- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2000

Police officers and FBI agents backing up a Maryland State Police trooper Monday night did not realize he had been fatally shot until they heard his irregular breathing, police sources said.

The Toyota 4-Runner driven by Trooper Edward M. Toatley, 37, had a video camera and microphones to allow the FBI and Prince George's County police to monitor his undercover drug buy of $3,500 worth of cocaine from Kofi A. Orleans-Lindsay.

Inside a van 70 feet away, the agents and officers heard a "pop" but did not respond because they did not recognize it as a gunshot, the sources said, adding that they heard Trooper Toatley's irregular breathing seconds later and immediately went to his aid.

By that time Mr. Orleans-Lindsay, who is wanted for the shooting death of the trooper, had escaped into the neighborhood around the 2000 block of Douglas Street NE. He is still at large.

"They responded only when they heard a … sound of [his irregular breathing]," said a source familiar with the investigation. "Those were seconds lost."

Police sources said the lost seconds may have prevented Mr. Orleans-Lindsay's immediate capture, but nothing could have stopped the slaying of Trooper Toatley.

Police sources told The Washington Times that after Trooper Toatley gave Mr. Orleans-Lindsay $3,500 for cocaine, Mr. Orleans-Lindsay allegedly got out of the 4-Runner and walked away a few feet, turned around, opened the passenger side door and fired once hitting Trooper Toatley in the head.

Investigators believe Mr. Orleans-Lindsay had planned to steal the money from the beginning.

"It was a rip-off from the beginning. He thought [Trooper Toatley] was a drug dealer and he killed him to keep from having to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life," a police source said.

Trooper Toatley picked up Mr. Orleans-Lindsay in Takoma Park and his passenger directed him to Douglas Street, police said yesterday. Backup officers were in two vehicles on Queens Chapel Road within eyesight of the 4-Runner.

Assistant D.C. police Chief William P. McManus said separate fugitive and homicide investigations are being conducted.

He said they are still trying to determine whether anyone helped Mr. Orleans-Lindsay in his escape.

Investigators believe Mr. Orleans-Lindsay, 23, who last lived in Silver Spring, is still in the area and are focusing on Takoma Park and Langley Park, Chief McManus said.

Mr. Orleans-Lindsay, a native of Ghana, fled the shooting with at least $3,500, leading authorities to theorize he would try to flee the country.

"I don't have anything to make me believe that he's not in the area," Chief McManus said. "We have taken steps to make sure he doesn't leave the country."

Federal agencies, including the U.S. Customs Service, are on alert at airports and seaports along the East Coast.

The FBI yesterday added $20,000 to the $36,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Trooper Toatley's killer, bringing the total to $56,000.

Meanwhile, the manhunt for Mr. Orleans-Lindsay went into a high-tech mode yesterday as FBI and local police moved the investigation's command post to the Metropolitan Police Department's new tactical operations command center.

The command center should help sort through the hundreds of tips that come in each day about the whereabouts of the man accused of killing the trooper.

Outfitted with computers and wall-display maps, the command center collects, analyzes and disseminates massive amounts of information to D.C. police and other law enforcement agencies, as The Times first reported in September.

The investigation had been housed at the 5th Police District headquarters on Bladensburg Road NE, but the command center at police department headquarters is bigger and better equipped to handle the manhunt, police said.

Trooper Toatley was a member of the Safe Streets Task Force, created in 1992 to combat street-gang and drug-related violence, as well as track down fugitives wanted for crimes of violence.

The task force includes members of the Metropolitan Police and Maryland State Police who are deputized to cross jurisdictional lines as well as the FBI.

Trooper Toatley, who was posthumously promoted to corporal yesterday, is survived by his wife, Inez, an employee of the state police; and three children, ages 18, 5 and 18 months. He will be buried today in Baltimore at the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Yesterday, state troopers a black band covering their badges in mourning joined hundreds of mourners who paid their respects to the officer's family at Ruck's Funeral Home in Baltimore.

Kneeling near the coffin where he had pinned Maryland's two highest honors the medals of valor and honor on the chest of the fallen trooper, Gov. Parris N. Glendening tried to explain the loss to the trooper's 5-year-old son.

"Who shot my daddy?" Daniel Toatley asked.

"A very bad man shot your daddy," the governor told the child.

Mr. Glendening pinned the medals on the right breast of Cpl. Toatley's brown and khaki Class A uniform. His trooper's Stetson hat sat atop the coffin. He held rosary beads in his hands.

The governor presented two state flags to Cpl. Toatley's family, one to his wife and one to his father in a private ceremony.

State Police Superintendent Col. David B. Mitchell was at the governor's side when Daniel said he wanted to kiss his father. His mother lifted him to the opening in the coffin.

"Mommy," Daniel said, "Daddy's cold."

"Your kiss has now warmed him up," his mother told him.

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