Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey, left, and Senior Deputy Mark Logsdon (Courtesy Harford County Sheriff's Office)

Elizabeth Rupp said she always suspected that her ex-husband shot her on New Year’s Eve 17 years ago. He vanished afterward, and she didn’t see him again until a chance encounter at a Panera restaurant in Abingdon in December.

Rupp said the scruffy man stopped her short. He looked like David Brian Evans, but she wanted to make sure. On Wednesday, she went back and convinced herself it was him. Then she dialed 911.

The chaos that erupted next claimed the lives of two Harford County sheriff’s deputies in one of the deadliest days for Maryland law enforcement in recent memory. Authorities said that Evans, 68, unexpectedly fired at them and then was killed by other deputies.

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims Thursday as Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey, a 30-year veteran, and Senior Deputy Mark Logsdon, who had been with the office for 16 years. Both were military veterans and decorated officers who left families behind.

“It was a horror. It was a horror,” said Lynn Faulkner, a restaurant customer. “Children were crying. Strangers that didn’t know each other were hugging. You don’t . . . take your daughter to brunch at Panera on a snow day and expect a sheriff to be shot and die.”

Faulkner, 56, of Fallston, Md., said she and daughter Sophia were sitting about 15 feet from Evans when the shooting began.

“The police officer came in,” Faulkner said. “I had my back to it. The officer sat down at the man’s table. I think he exchanged one sentence. That’s when he was shot and fell back in the chair.”

Dailey “never had a chance” to even unholster his gun, Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler said.

Sophia Faulkner, 15, described the sound as “ear-rattling.” She said she and her mother scrambled under their table, fearing that Evans might begin shooting patrons. A family with three young children was sitting in front of him. But the Faulkners said Evans immediately fled out a back entrance and ran around to the front of the building. Another deputy started to give Dailey medical aid, and a customer bolted after Evans, helping authorities find him at a nearby senior living center.

Gahler said that other law enforcement officers established a perimeter and that Evans was found in a car. From the vehicle, Evans fired at Logsdon, who had been among the first on the scene. Logsdon was hit and later died.

Gahler said that Logsdon was able to return fire, shooting at least three rounds. He added that other deputies, who were coming from different directions, also opened fire and that Evans was killed.

Two Maryland sheriff's deputies were fatally shot and a suspect killed Wednesday in a shootout at a Baltimore-area Panera restaurant filled with lunchtime customers. (Reuters)

Authorities found a semiautomatic handgun in Evans’s vehicle, which he might have been living in. Gahler said the initial report shows the firearm was legally purchased in Pennsylvania in 1993.

He said that Evans did not want to be arrested — he had an outstanding Florida warrant for obstructing a police officer.

“It is our belief that because he knew of the warrant out for his arrest and what the ultimate outcome would be,” the sheriff said, “that’s the reason he took action.”

Rupp, 67, of Aberdeen, Md., said the incident began about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, when she went to the Panera and confirmed that the man was her ex-husband. When she had seen Evans in December, she thought he appeared too short, she said.

Rupp said she was worried by Evans resurfacing after so many years. The Panera was close to the home of one of her three adult children with Evans, so she thought her family might be in danger.

Rupp said she and Evans had been married for 17 years before divorcing in 1989. She also said Evans began driving up and down the street near her Aberdeen home about a decade later. Soon after, Rupp said, she was shot in the neck while walking to her car on Dec. 31, 1998. Rupp didn’t see her attacker, but she was convinced that it was Evans.

Rupp recovered. She said she believed that a warrant was issued for Evans in connection with her shooting. A spokeswoman for the sheriff said the office is aware of the “alleged incident but cannot confirm any details.”

In addition to the Florida warrant, Evans was wanted on a civil writ issued in Harford County for unpaid attorney’s fees, Gahler said. The fees stemmed from an earlier civil court case.

Rupp said that no one in her family had seen or heard from Evans since the 1998 shooting and that she believed he was drifting around the country.

After confirming that the man at the Panera restaurant was Evans, she left and went to a Harford sheriff’s office in Bel Air, Md., to report him. Rupp said she was told to call a dispatcher, and she explained about the 1998 shooting and said Evans was unstable.

Faulkner said that Evans appeared disheveled and that she regularly saw him at the Panera. Authorities called Evans a vagrant and said that the restaurant staff took care of him, giving him a place setting with a name placard and food one day.

Rupp said that before her divorce from Evans, he had been a civil engineer. She said he began drinking heavily toward the end of their marriage. She said she was thankful for the officers who died and that her thoughts went out to their families.

“I would say these officers were courageous and they bought my family’s safety,” Rupp said. “I am thankful they are dedicated to what they do. I will pray for these officers every day. I feel horrible.”

The slain deputies were remembered as model law enforcement officers.

“It’s absolutely devastating to the people that wear this uniform,” Gahler at a news conference Thursday. “There are no words. These men are heroes.”

Gahler choked up as he stood before about a dozen deputies wearing black bands across their badges.

Outside the Panera, dozens of bouquets, teddy bears and candles were left in honor of the slain deputies. A sign on the front door said the restaurant would be closed until further notice “out of respect for our community, our associates and our law enforcement team.”

Gahler said Dailey was a former Marine who is survived by his girlfriend, mother and two sons. Dailey was one of six sheriff’s deputies and civilians who received awards for helping rescue an 11-year-old child from a burning car in 2002. His family did not return calls seeking comment.

Dailey joined the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company on his 16th birthday, according to the group, which also said he was active there for 37 years. The fire department said that Dailey’s two sons also serve with the department.

“We are taking this time to support Pat’s family and the Har­ford County Sheriff’s Office,” a statement from the fire department said.

Gahler said that Logsdon was an Army veteran and is survived by his wife and three children. In 2005, Logsdon was honored for persuading a suicidal man with a shotgun to put down his weapon. Someone who answered the phone at a number for Logsdon’s parents’ home declined to comment.

Logsdon’s daughter offered a tribute to her father on her Facebook page:

“To say I am proud of you is a complete understatement,” Bethany Logsdon wrote. “I am so happy for the time I had with you. I am so thankful for all of the people that you protected. You are my best friend. You are my hero. I will love you forever. I am so sad our time got cut short. I am so angry that someone took this from us. I love you.”

Peter Hermann, Jennifer Jenkins, Julie Tate, Ovetta Wiggins and Julie Zauzmer contributed to this report.