Suspect in killings surrenders

Lusby man charged in shootings of county firefighter, brother

Hostage flees trailer home

21-hour ordeal begins in St. Mary's County, ends in Calvert Co.

Anne Arundel

October 10, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A man suspected of killing an Anne Arundel County firefighter and his brother before taking a woman hostage in her Calvert County home surrendered to police yesterday, authorities said.

Matthew T. Keyser, who also is accused of shooting at a state trooper after the killings Monday, surrendered after the woman fled through a back door, police said. He gave himself up about 21 hours after the shootings.

Keyser, 32, of Lusby was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder, authorities said. He was being held last night without bail at St. Mary's County Detention Center in Leonardtown.

Keyser is charged in the fatal shootings of brothers Louis A. Moreland, 39, of Edgewater, an 18-year- veteran firefighter, and Edward Warren Moreland, 38, of Lusby, a siding installer.

Authorities said the Morelands were putting siding on a house in the St. Mary's County town of California late Monday morning when they were shot. Police said Keyser, who was installing a roof at the site, was angry because he thought a man was having an affair with his wife.

After apparently seeking a confrontation, he became enraged when he learned that the man was not at work. Authorities said neither of the Morelands was involved in the dispute.

Seven rounds were fired from a shotgun at the construction site, police said.

Edward Moreland died at the site. Louis Moreland, an apparatus operator based at the Harwood-Lothian fire station in southern Anne Arundel County, died at Prince George's Hospital Center's Trauma Unit in Cheverly several hours after the shootings.

As state troopers chased Keyser from the construction site north toward Calvert County, a shotgun was fired from Keyser's pickup at Trooper M.D. Lass.

The shots missed him, but struck his patrol car at least four times, police said.

Lass returned fire, and but did not hit Keyser, who ran into a wooded area, police said.

St. Mary's County sheriff's deputies saw the man in the driveway of a trailer in Lusby in Calvert County, where an Oldsmobile was stolen. As the deputies approached, he rammed the car into a fence and forced his way into a nearby trailer, said Lt. John Horne of the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities said a man and a woman were ordered to leave the trailer, but Elsie Reeves, 61, was kept as a hostage. Horne said Keyser did not know the woman.

After being held hostage throughout the night, Reeves escaped about 9:30 a.m. yesterday by saying she had to go the bathroom and then running out the back door, authorities said.

Minutes later, Keyser surrendered, police said.

Anne Arundel County firefighters mourned the loss of Louis Moreland, a respected and well-liked firefighter, and his brother.

"I think we're all numb, in shock and in disbelief," said Division Chief John M. Scholz, who had worked with Louis Moreland for more than a decade.

Moreland started volunteering as a firefighter for the Woodland Beach company in Edgewater when he was a teen-ager.

He joined the county Fire Department in 1983, working his way up to the rank of apparatus operator, which meant he was qualified to handle a variety of firefighting equipment.

"It's a very technical position," Scholz said. "It really requires a lot of practice, thought and effort. He was constantly pushing himself to be the best. And he was."

About 10 years ago, Moreland noticed a problem with the nozzles on the county's fire hoses. Spurred by Moreland's study of the problem, the county changed the type of nozzle used - an upgrade many firefighters credit with improving their ability to fight fires.

"I think it changed way the Fire Department delivers its service," Scholz said. "He left a legacy not only in that area, but also by mentoring other firefighters."

Moreland, a 1980 graduate of South River High School, spent most of his career at the West Annapolis and Lothian fire stations. He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Shelley, and their two daughters.

His brother, Edward, a 1981 graduate of South River High School, had been self-employed as a siding contractor since 1989. He is survived by his wife of nearly six years, Frances, three sons and three daughters.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Trinity Assembly of God Church in Lanham. Visitation will be held 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Hardesty Funeral Home, 12 Ridgely Ave., Annapolis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Children of Louis and Edward Moreland Educational Fund, c/o Trinity Assembly of God Church, 7800 Good Luck Road, Lanham 20706.

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