State trooper finds fugitive in Millersville Capture ends manhunt that began Friday

June 09, 1991|By Arthur Hirsch and Rafael Alvarez

A large-scale manhunt for a fugitive Canadian soldier, one of two men wanted for allegedly wounding a Toronto police officer and shooting at two Maryland troopers, ended on a quiet suburban street yesterday afternoon when he was arrested by an off-duty state trooper who was outside doing yard work.

Investigators said Pvt. Eric William Schumacher, 21, was seen by a motorist about 3:30 p.m. yesterday as he walked along Waterbury Road in the Millersville area, not far from the home of 1st Sgt. Thomas Ingram, 59, the commander of the state police's College Park barracks.

The driver, a neighbor of Sergeant Ingram's, pulled into the police officer's driveway and reported that he believed he had seen Private Schumacher walking along the road near Interstate 97.

Sergeant Ingram, a 30-year police veteran, was wearing a T-shirt, blue jeans and work shoes when he interrupted his yard work to go inside and get his 9mm Beretta handgun, then headed out in his unmarked Chevrolet to pursue the suspect.

Sergeant Ingram said he had driven east on Waterbury Road for about a half-mile when he came around a bend in the road and saw Private Schumacher walking west toward him. By the time he got out of his car, Sergeant Ingram had drawn his gun.

Identifying himself as a police officer, he ordered the suspect lie down on the ground and conducted a simple interview.

When Sergeant Ingram asked the man's name, he allegedly responded: "Schumacher."

When he asked where he was from, the man reportedly said: "Toronto."

Sergeant Ingram then handcuffed the suspect as he lay on the ground and bound his feet.

The suspect was holding a sweater, and in the sweater police said they found a loaded .357-caliber Magnum, as well as two speed-loaders in the suspect's pants pockets.

Private Schumacher, wearing black fatigue pants and the olive-drab shirt he was described as wearing when the manhunt began, was taken to the Annapolis barracks of the state police.

Once there, he complained of a gunshot wound and was taken to the Anne Arundel County Medical Center in Annapolis, where doctors found a wound but couldn't determine whether it was a gunshot wound or not.

Private Schumacher was then taken back to the Annapolis barracks, where he was charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with Thursday's shootout with state police.

He was also charged with the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, conspiracy to commit attempted murder and fugitive charges.

When asked how it felt to be the solitary police officer who caught the fugitive, Sergeant Ingram said: "It feels good to be able to get him off the street with all the effort" police had invested in the search.

Friday's manhunt focused on a 5-square-mile area bordered by Davidsonville Road, U.S. 50, Rutland Road and Rossback Road.

More than 100 police officers, using five helicopters and a dozen dogs, combed the forest, gullies and farm fields.

Late Friday, Maryland police said they were confident that Private Schumacher was trapped within police roadblocks and that they would find him soon.

Officers began checking door to door in the surrounding neighborhoods late Friday.

Private Schumacher and his companion, Pvt. Donald Roger Nelson, who was wounded by Maryland troopers and surrendered to police Friday morning, are wanted by Canadian authorities in connection with the shooting of a Toronto constable.

Police said the two fugitives, who were absent without leave from their Canadian army base in London, Ontario, are charged in warrants in connection with the May 30 shooting of Constable Larry Dee, 36, who was wounded in the face and hip when he tried to question two men near the Toronto SkyDome.

The Canadian warrants charge Private Schumacher of Montreal with attempted murder and Private Nelson of Surrey, B.C., as an accessory. Police said they would discuss extradition proceedings for the two suspects with Canadian authorities.

Private Schumacher and Private Nelson were believed to have been hitchhiking on westbound U.S. 50 a quarter-mile east of the Davidsonville Road exit Thursday night when they were spotted by Trooper Kim Bowman.

Trooper Bowman, 22, pulled onto the shoulder of the road and asked the men for identification.

A police computer check showed that both men were wanted -- without specifying why -- and another trooper, Kim Brooks, 27, was dispatched to the scene as a backup.

When Trooper Brooks arrived, the two officers searched the two men for weapons. Trooper Brooks yelled out that she had found a gun in Private Schumacher's waistband; when she did, Private Nelson pulled his own handgun on Trooper Bowman, police said.

There was an exchange of gunfire before the two men ran into the woods north of U.S. 50.

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