- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2003

Members of the sniper task force gathered at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the District yesterday as the name of Virginia State Trooper Mark Cosslett, who some called the "last victim of the sniper," was carved into the memorial.

Trooper Cosslett, 40, the father of two children, was struck and killed by a tow truck on Interstate 95 in Springfield on Oct. 23. He was responding to gunshots thought to be fired by the sniper who had been terrorizing the Washington area.

"I always felt Mark was another victim of the sniper," said Virginia State Police Sgt. Dean Jones, head of the motorcade unit to which Trooper Cosslett belonged. "He was the last victim of the sniper."

Joining members of the task force, including acting Montgomery County police Chief William O'Toole and FBI Special Agent in Charge Gary Bald, were Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. W. Gerald Massengill, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall and about 150 of Trooper Cosslett's colleagues, friends and family members, including his widow, Leslie, and her parents.

"It's a brotherhood, law enforcement," said Maj. Winston Robertson of the Hanover Sheriff's Office, who worked on the sniper case. "When you lose one, especially one that is working on something like this where there were so many of us, it's important to show respect."

Mr. Marshall said he, like Sgt. Jones, considers Trooper Cosslett a victim of the sniper, adding that Trooper Cosslett's connection with the sniper incident is often overlooked. Mr. Marshall said he appreciates the inclusion of the sniper task force in the ceremony.

"I hope that will get the word out [about] the call he was responding to, and he was a victim of that terrorism," Mr. Marshall said.

His widow, Leslie, said she was proud that her husband's name was included on the memorial with 16,000 other names. This year 377 new names will be added to the memorial on Judiciary Square.

"My husband was always worried about doing right by his name, by his Corps, by his department," she said. "He was always so worried about providing for me and for the kids and he couldn't have done better."

After statements by Craig Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Col. Massengill and Mr. Marshall, Trooper Cosslett's name was engraved on the memorial and friends and family members were invited to make etchings of it.

Mrs. Cosslett said she plans to take her children, Trevor, 4 and Meghan, 2, to the memorial to remember their father.

Trooper Cosslett was active in the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club and members said motorcycles, along with work, family and friends, were his passion.

"It's sad, but at the same time he died doing the one thing he loved to do," said Sgt. Matt Hanley, a member of the Boozefighters, and the Virginia State Police Motor Unit. "Every time we get together you feel like something is missing."

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