Troopers get notice for efforts to capture Canadians

June 22, 1991|By Robert A. Erlandson

When Trooper Kimberly Brooks received a Governor's Commendation yesterday for her role in a shootout with two Canadian fugitives, her thoughts turned to a friend who fell in the line of duty just over a year ago.

"I think Corporal Wolf was there with me," said Trooper Brooks, 27, referring to Cpl. Theodore D. Wolf, a family friend since childhood who was slain during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in March 1990.

Trooper Brooks and Trooper Kimberly Bowman, who also received the Governor's Commendation yesterday, were lucky.

Neither was wounded in the shootout two weeks ago on U.S. 50, although Trooper Bowman narrowly escaped injury when a slug tore through the left side of her shirt and lodged in the leather handcuff case on her hip.

"I was blessed," recalled Trooper Bowman, 22. "You don't have time to be scared."

The presentations were made at state police graduation, and the class of 66 rookie troopers rose to applaud as Correctional Services Secretary Bishop L. Robinson made the awards in the sweltering gymnasium at state police headquarters in Pikesville.

For Trooper Brooks, it was a day of special family pride. Her father, Capt. W. E. Brooks, is commander of the Metro Washington area. Her brother, Cpl. William E. Brooks III, is assigned to Waterloo barracks. And her sister, Melody, is a civilian communications officer.

As a father, Captain Brooks said that he was worried when he heard about the shootout but that concern gave way to pride, "because now I know she can take care of herself."

Troopers Brooks and Bowman, both of the Annapolis barracks, would not discuss the case in detail because of pending court action, but they did give a brief account of what happened on the night of June 6 when they encountered the two fugitives.

Both men -- Pvt. Eric William Schumacher, 21, and Pvt. Donald Roger Nelson, 20 -- were absent without leave from the Royal Canadian Regiment and were wanted for the attempted murder of a Toronto policeman.

Trooper Bowman said she saw the men hitchhiking along U.S. 50 near Davidsonville Road and stopped to question them. Trooper Brooks was dispatched as a backup.

A radio check indicated that Private Nelson was wanted, Trooper Brooks said, "but we didn't know for what."

"It could have been another person with the same name," she said, so she didn't draw her weapon. She said Private Schumacher gave a false name.

When Private Nelson pulled his gun from under his sweater and started shooting, Trooper Bowman returned fire. Trooper Brooks said she grabbed Private Schumacher's pistol in the waistband of his trousers and shoved him into Private Nelson as she retreated behind the police car.

The troopers said they traded shots at a range of 8 to 10 feet before the men fled into the woods, prompting an extensive manhunt over the next two days. The troopers said they could not say how many shots were fired.

Both women said they were wearing their bulletproof vests at the time and that they wear them constantly while on duty.

Three others who helped capture the fugitives also received honors at yesterday's ceremony.

The morning after the shooting, Gerald T. Brady of St. Margaret's was driving on U.S. 50 when he spotted Private Nelson emerging from a patch of woods. He made a U-turn and told a group of nearby troopers, who quickly arrested the unarmed Canadian.

The day after that, Herbert Magnusson, 27, and his neighbor 1st Sgt. Thomas Y. Ingram, 59, an off-duty state trooper, captured Private Schumacher in the Millersville area.

When Mr. Magnusson told his neighbor that he thought he'd seen Private Schumacher in the area, Sergeant Ingram said he strapped on his gun belt and handcuffs, radioed for backup and went hunting for the suspect in his unmarked cruiser.

"He was walking toward me," Sergeant Ingram said yesterday. "It's a narrow county road, no shoulder. I had a good description of him and pictures. I had the advantage of him because by the time he realized I was a policeman it was too late."

Held at gunpoint, the Canadian dropped his sweater, from which a .357-caliber Magnum revolver was later recovered, and admitted his identity, Sergeant Ingram said. He handcuffed the suspect as an Anne Arundel County police officer and a state police K-9 trooper arrived.

Mr. Brady and Mr. Magnusson were awarded certificates of appreciation, while Sergeant Ingram received the Governor's Commendation.

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