EASTON - Nearly two dozen state police investigators closed off a rural Dorchester County road for hours yesterday, combing isolated woods near Marshy Hope Creek for clues in the death of a state corrections officer who was gunned down on his way home from work early Monday.
Cpl. Gregory Guy Collins, an officer who worked for three years at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Princess Anne, was found dead Monday afternoon in his wrecked Toyota pickup about 2 1/2 miles from the home he shared with his wife and 5-month-old daughter near the small town of Brookview, near Vienna.
Police, who were waiting for a report from the state medical examiner's office, said Collins apparently was hit with gunshots fired by someone who had been following the 31-year-old former Marine Corps artillery specialist.
"It appears he was shot from behind while driving," said Cpl. Rob Moroney, a state police spokesman.
He was discovered dead in the truck about 4 p.m. Monday after his wife called police to report that he had not returned home after working the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift Sunday at the prison.
Yesterday, as crime scene specialists got their first look at the late-model gray Toyota in a police garage in Easton, bullet holes were visible in the rear of the truck, the front passenger side was crumpled and the rear window was missing, Moroney said.
Police would not reveal how many shots had struck Collins, saying only that he had been hit "in the head or back."
"This was absolutely not a suicide," said Moroney, who said investigators do not know the type or caliber of weapon used in the shooting. "We found the vehicle off the road in the woods, the victim inside with a gunshot wound. At this point, we just don't know much more than that."
Collins, a 1988 graduate of North Dorchester County High School, had served in the Maryland National Guard in the 115th Military Police Battalion in Salisbury since 1999.