Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler identified the two Maryland deputies killed in a shootout on Wednesday.
Deputy Patrick Dailey, a 30-year veteran of the force, and Deputy Mark Logsdon, a 16–year veteran, were identified as the two deputies who were fatally shot on Wednesday in Abingdon, Md.
Gahler, who had to take a moment to collect himself while announcing the names at a press conference on Thursday, said the loss of the deputies was “devastating.”
“There are no words. These men are heroes,” Gahler said. “They served this county and they served this country, faithfully, honorably and they lost their lives doing what they loved to do.”
Dailey, worked in the Court Services Division of the agency. He is survived by his girlfriend, his mother and his two sons. Logsdon was assigned to the Community Services Division and had previously served in the U.S. Army. Dailey leaves behind a wife and three kids.
The mayhem started on Wednesday afternoon when deputies were called to a Panera Bread store in Abingdon, Maryland. Gahler said that Dailey was the first to arrive on the scene in search of the wanted subject, David Evans.
Evans, 68, took out a handgun when approached by Dailey and shot him in the head “almost immediately,” Gahler said. Deputy Logsdon arrived on scene along with other officers a short while later and was killed in an exchange of gunfire with Evans.
Investigators believe Evans shot the officers because there was a warrant out for his arrest. The warrant was issued in Florida in October for obstructing police and resisting arrest.
"We don’t believe that he laid in wait to ambush, but certainly the officer was targeted in that he didn’t want to be apprehended," Gahler said.
Gahler also said that deputies recovered a loaded handgun from Evans at the scene that was legally purchased in Pennsylvania in 1993.
Evans’ estranged son Jeremy Evans told NBC affiliate WBAL he believes his father thought he’d spend his life in jail and decided to try and escape. He said that his mother called the sheriff’s office to try and warn them about his father.
"(On Wednesday morning), my mom has been troubled because she's seen him, she knows it's him," Evans told WBAL. "(She said) 'I just had to go again and see if he was there. And there he was in the back of the restaurant. I didn't want him to see me. I saw his profile and I knew it was him'."
Evans said his father had never spoken poorly about cops to him, and he’s never had problems with police in the past.
"I think what happened is these cops came in there to arrest him and that's what he saw," Evans said. "But being a 68-year-old man, he saw the rest of his life in jail and he tried to get away.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Gahler could not confirm who placed the call that alerted officials of Evans’ whereabouts.