Although the two Prince George’s County sheriff’s deputies were killed a decade ago, their character, personality and dedication to service were remembered Wednesday in Upper Marlboro.
The Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff held a memorial ceremony for them at department headquarters, using a newly erected monument for line of duty deaths as the centerpiece of the tribute.
Pfc. Elizabeth Magruder, 30, of Clinton and Sgt. James Arnaud, 53, of Calvert County, had gone to a home in Adelphi on Aug. 29, 2002 to serve a court-ordered emergency petition to a man who had been behaving erratically during a period of several days, the sheriff’s department said. Upon entering the home, the man ran into a basement bedroom and barricaded himself inside, but later came out of the room with a handgun and opened fire on the deputies killing both, according to the sheriff’s department.
Arnaud was shot in the throat and died on scene, while Magruder was shot in the head and died at a nearby hospital, sheriff’s deputies said.
The two deputies became the first and only members to make the “ultimate sacrifice” in the 316 years of the department’s existence, said county Sheriff Melvin C. High.
Family members of the victims, sheriff’s department personnel, former county sheriffs and community members gathered at the Memorial Monument to share memories of the two deputies and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony. The site features a stone platform, flag poles and a raised sheriff’s office insignia with the Latin phrase “Eternus Memoria,” meaning eternal memory.
“Law enforcement requires that our members bring with them, as they join our ranks, courage, honor, integrity and commitment to duty,” said High during the ceremony. “When we take the oath, we recognize the risks associated with this work. Yet, we decide to do it anyway. I believe this places our work in the special category of a calling — a mission if you will — not a job. No doubt this was the view of Sergeant Arnaud and Deputy Magruder as they took our oath.”
Magruder’s husband, Derwinn, said he feels the county now is a safer place because of his wife and Arnaud’s service.
“I feel very honored,” he said of the monument and ceremony. “This is letting me know that they haven’t forgotten the sacrifice that [Magruder] made.”
Arnaud’s daughter, Jamey, said she was happy to see the monument erected and asked those in attendance to keep her along with deputies and their families in their prayers.
“He was a man of value, he was strong, he had integrity and he was hard-working,” she said.
Both family members fought back tears while receiving dedication plaques to honor their lost loved ones.
“To the families, friends and colleagues of Sergeant Arnaud and Deputy Magruder, accept our gratitude,” High said. “And as this monument indicates, we will never forget.”