- Associated Press - Friday, June 11, 2010

FORESTVILLE, Md. (AP) — Police were searching for a man who shot and killed an off-duty Maryland state trooper working security at a Prince George’s County restaurant early Friday.

Trooper Wesley Brown, 24, escorted a disorderly customer from an Applebee’s on Thursday evening and when he left the restaurant around 12:40 a.m. Friday, State Police Superintendent Col. Terrence Sheridan said that customer shot him.

Mr. Brown, who was wearing a jacket that clearly identified him as a police officer on the back, was talking on the phone in the parking lot of the restaurant and was shot without warning, Col. Sheridan said.

Mr. Brown was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Police closed the road to the shopping center where the shooting took place Friday morning with cruisers, vans and yellow police tape.

Some Applebee’s employees who were at the restaurant when the shooting occurred were just leaving Friday morning after being there all night, but declined to be interviewed.

Mr. Brown’s death has devastated the trooper’s law-enforcement and personal family and the community he protected, Col. Sheridan said.

“These men and women put their lives on the line and when this happens it goes against our society, it goes against everything we stand for,” said Col. Sheridan, who visited the scene with Gov. Martin O’Malley on Friday morning.

Mr. O’Malley said that for now, police must focus on finding the shooter.

“There’s no way to make sense of a murder like this of a dedicated 24-year-old trooper who was doing his job and out there on the streets for us,” Mr. O’Malley said.

Mr. Brown was assigned to the Forestville barracks and was recently engaged to be married, Col. Sheridan said.

State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said Mr. Brown was working off-duty. Many troopers do security work as part-time jobs, but it must be approved by the state police command, he said.

Police were searching the area for the gunman.

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