Parolee, pal held in Md. state trooper's killing
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A parolee with a long history of drug convictions was charged Monday with fatally shooting a Maryland state trooper outside a Forestville Applebee's simply because the trooper had thrown him out of the restaurant a half-hour earlier, authorities and law enforcement sources said.
Cyril Cornelius Williams, 27, of Seat Pleasant was charged with first-degree murder in Friday's fatal shooting of Trooper Wesley Brown, 24. Williams was so enraged after Brown ejected him from the restaurant that he sought out a friend, returned and opened fire on an unsuspecting Brown as he stood outside talking on his cellphone, several law enforcement officials said.
The friend, Anthony A. Milton II, 28, also was charged with first-degree murder. The law enforcement sources said Milton handed Williams the semiautomatic gun used in the shooting.
Their only motive, police said, was the dispute at Applebee's.
"Nothing more, nothing less," said Kevin Davis, deputy Prince George's County police chief.
The brazenness of the shooting of a state trooper, youth mentor and active member of the Seat Pleasant community sparked a massive effort to find the killer. County homicide detectives, who led the investigation, teamed with the Maryland State Police, D.C. police, FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and even parole and probation officials. Surveillance footage was quickly released to the media, and hundreds of tips were followed.
Williams's arrest over the weekend and Milton's on Monday brought relief to the law enforcement community, which was stunned that someone would ambush a police officer over such a minor dispute. Brown wasn't in uniform, but he was wearing his badge around his neck and was steps from his marked cruiser when he was killed.
"This is a bittersweet moment for all of us," said Terrence B. Sheridan, the state police superintendent, "in that a young trooper was cut down way before his time."
Brown was working off-duty as a security guard at the Applebee's on Donnell Drive when he escorted out a man in a blue shirt who had been acting belligerently, police said. Law enforcement sources said the man was urinating inside the restaurant and possibly had a dispute over a bill.
Police said the man in the blue shirt, whose picture was released to news outlets, was Williams. Police also identified Milton as a suspect, and he "admitted being on the scene and participating in the murder of Trooper Brown," according to police charging documents. The documents do not say who pulled the trigger. Law enforcement sources said it was Williams. Milton's main role, the sources said, was providing the gun.
Williams fired six times, sources said, and two of the bullets struck the trooper. One hit him in the ankle; the other made its way past his bulletproof vest and pierced his heart, the sources said. Brown never had a chance to draw his gun.
No one answered the doors at the homes of Williams and Milton on Monday. Police said they have recovered the semiautomatic handgun used in the killing, connecting it to the slaying through ballistics testing. They would not say how they found it. A law enforcement source said police served several search warrants in connection with the case and have seized large amounts of drugs and money.