By John Clarke
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Maryland gunman who killed two sheriff's deputies in a lunchtime shootout at a busy restaurant near Baltimore was trying to avoid arrest on two outstanding warrants, authorities said on Thursday.
The killings on Wednesday marked the first time the Harford County Sheriff's Office has lost a deputy to a shooting since 1889, Harford Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said at a press conference.
"It's absolutely devastating," Gahler said. "There are no words."
The gunman, identified as David Brian Evans, 67, was also killed in the incident.
The slain law enforcement officers were identified as Patrick Dailey, a 30-year veteran of the force and volunteer firefighter, and Mark Logsdon, a 16-year veteran. The men, whose ages were not released, were both were military veterans.
They were killed while responding to a disturbance report around 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday at a Panera Bread restaurant in Abingdon, about 25 miles northeast of Baltimore, Gahler said.
Evans, described as homeless man who lived in his car, shot Dailey in the head when he approached the man to start a conversation, Gahler said.
Logsdon chased Evans to a car outside the restaurant where they, along with two other deputies, exchanged gunfire. Logsdon was shot during the exchange and later died.
Police recovered a semi-automatic handgun from inside the vehicle.
“It is our belief that because he knew of the warrant out for his arrest and what the ultimate outcome would be,” Gahler said, “that’s the reason he took action.”
Evans had two outstanding warrants, including a criminal warrant from Florida for assaulting a police officer and fleeing, Gahler said. The other was a civil warrant issued by Harford County Circuit Court.
The two surviving deputies, who have not been identified, have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, Gahler said.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Osterman)