2 Carroll deputies honored for valor

Pair tried to stop driver for speeding, found themselves under fire

April 17, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Two Carroll County sheriff's deputies have been honored for professionalism and bravery in an incident last month, when they tried to stop a driver for speeding and unexpectedly found themselves in a shootout with the man who had killed a woman that day.

The county commissioners awarded certificates to Deputies Jesse G. Clagett, 28, and William G. Burdt, 27, in a ceremony Monday at the county office building. The two deputies, who joined the Sheriff's Office about a year ago from the Westminster police force, were briefly suspended with pay during an investigation in which Maryland State Police concluded the pair acted properly.

"All the training paid off," said Clagett, who found himself calling for backup when shots were fired, according to the 911 tape.

Craig Eugene Hill Sr., 31, of the 2600 block of Norland Road in Baltimore died March 11 in a field near Woodbine from a gunshot from the stolen revolver he was firing at the two deputies, according to the state police investigation. That gun was used to kill 30-year-old Sharon Harvey at her home in the 2000 block of Hillcrest Road in Woodlawn, Baltimore County police said.

Police discovered Harvey's body after Hill broke into the Westminster apartment of a former girlfriend about 9 a.m., vowing to kill her and himself, and saying he already had killed Harvey, according to Westminster police. The former girlfriend escaped and Hill took her 2001 Buick sedan. About 10 minutes later, Clagett attempted to stop Hill at a radar trap for driving 47 mph in 30 mph stretch of Bloom Road.

Clagett and Burdt gave chase, and Hill drove into the field off the 1300 block of Hoods Mill Road, where he shot himself, according to the state police investigation.

Maj. Thomas H. Long, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said this was the department's first police-involved shooting.

"I'm still absorbing everything," said Burdt. He praised the two 911 dispatchers, who kept them informed while co- ordinating a police effort that included a state police helicopter and Howard County officers.

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge thanked the two men, with their families present, before awarding the certificates for "professionalism and bravery in the face of extreme danger while protecting the citizens of Carroll County."

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