Slain former Harford educator mourned

Body of unnamed suspect found in Bush River

December 11, 2003|By Amanda Angel | Amanda Angel,SUN STAFF

Friends and neighbors of Earl Jacob Lightcap were mourning his death yesterday, after the longtime Harford County educator was found shot and killed at his Long Bar Harbor home Tuesday afternoon.

"He was a highly respected educator," said Harford schools spokesman Donald R. Morrison. "It's a tragedy we're all saddened by."

Lightcap, 75, who lived in the 700 block of W. Baker Ave., was supposed to meet his neighbors John Cooney and Frank Lucas on Tuesday afternoon, according to Harford sheriff's spokesman Edward Hopkins. When Lightcap didn't arrive, Cooney and Lucas went to his home, where they found him dead, Hopkins said.

Cooney couldn't be reached, and Lucas declined to comment yesterday.

The body of a suspect in the slaying was found in the Bush River yesterday morning as deputies searched the area. The man, who was in his 20s, died from a rifle shot to the head, Hopkins said. The gunshot appeared to be self-inflicted, he said.

Deputies also recovered a rifle, he said. Authorities suspect the weapon may have been used in both deaths.

According to authorities, the description of the man matched that of a person who was seen with Lightcap earlier that day.

While the identity of the man has not been released, Hopkins said, "We are currently looking into the relationship between the two men."

Lightcap spent 31 years in county schools as a teacher, principal and associate superintendent, said Morrison, who was one of his students at Old Post Elementary School in Abingdon and Edgewood High School. Lightcap was inducted into the Harford County Public Schools Hall of Fame last year.

The Pennsylvania native began his career in education as a seventh-grade teacher at Havre de Grace Junior-Senior High School in 1949.

In 1952, Lightcap accepted the position of principal at Old Post Elementary, but he is best known as the first principal of Edgewood High School, Morrison said. In 1970, Lightcap became Harford's assistant superintendent for administration.

Alden H. Halsey, who worked with Lightcap for several years as the deputy superintendent of county schools from 1973 to 1993, said, "Dr. Lightcap performed everything he did well. He was very dedicated to the Harford County public schools."

Residents of Long Bar Harbor were shocked that there was a slaying in the area.

"I feel sick that someone was shot in this community," said Becky Fender.

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