Officer down

Baltimore County: Sergeant Bruce Prothero sacrificed his life in an effort to catch robbers.

February 09, 2000

They'll soon be etching a fifth name into the light gray granite monument in front of the Towson Courthouse that honors Baltimore County police who have died while serving.

Sergeant Bruce A. Prothero's name will be added, following his death Monday while trying to catch armed robbers who had held up J. Brown Jewelers in Pikesville.

Sergeant Prothero, 35, was moonlighting as a security guard. When two robbers brandished a pistol and then grabbed a handful of jewels, Sergeant Prothero reacted without hesitation.

He chased them into the parking lot, where they apparently gunned him down before making their getaway.

Unfortunately, this type of brazen criminal activity is likely to increase as Baltimore County ages and urbanizes. It's not unlike the crime problems in the city, once thought by many suburbanites to be a distant concern.

Sergeant Prothero's killing should reinforce in everyone's mind the importance of the city and county working together to get a handle on violent, reckless criminals who have no regard for human life.

It has been about 13 years since a Baltimore County police officer died while serving the public. The loss of an officer is always difficult. In the case of Sergeant Prothero's death, it is doubly so.

He was a highly-decorated and respected supervisor who received commendations for valor -- disarming a knife-wielding man -- and superior performance.

Sergeant Prothero was also a dedicated father of five. He was working part-time at J. Brown to augment his police salary so that his wife, Annie, could be a full-time mother.

We can only hope the city and county begin to work together to prevent other tragedies like this one.

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