Trooper shot at Wicomico Co. traffic stop identified, investigation continuing

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VIENNA, Md. – Maryland State Police have released the identity of the trooper who was shot multiple times during a traffic stop in Wicomico County earlier this week.

Police have identified the trooper as Sergeant Brooks Phillips, an 18-and-a-half-year veteran of the Maryland State Police, assigned to the Easton Barrack. He received medical treatment for his injuries at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional and was later released. He is currently on administrative leave.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Monday, Sergeant Phillips attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a Toyota Prius that was traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour on eastbound Route 50 in Mardela Springs. Sgt. Phillips approached the passenger side of the vehicle to make contact with the driver, later identified as 23-year-old Keiford Copper III. During the stop, Copper pulled out a firearm and fired at the trooper, hitting him several times. The trooper returned fire. Neither of the three occupants in the vehicle were hit, and Copper fled the scene on eastbound Route 50. Police believe the two occupants bailed out of the vehicle a short time later as Copper continued to flee.

Just after 10 p.m., officers from the Delmar Police Department located the Prius in the area of eastbound Route 54 and Providence Church Road in Delmar. Copper turned onto Elizabeth Street, a dead-end residential street, where he tried to turn the vehicle around. Instead, he hit the curb, crashed into two vehicles, and came to a rest after hitting a tree. Police found Copper alone inside the vehicle, slumped over the steering wheel with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No shots were fired by law enforcement at the scene of the crash, and a handgun was recovered from the scene.

A short time after the police-involved shooting, a citizen reportedly noticed two suspicious people on video surveillance footage at a residence located roughly five miles from the scene. A citizen turned that footage over to law enforcement, and it was determined that the two suspicious people matched the description of the two occupants in Copper’s vehicle at the time of the shooting.

While assisting Maryland State Police and the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office in the search for the two occupants, an armed sworn investigator with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, who now holds his police commission through the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, observed the two suspects walking along Porter Mill Road. He took immediate police action, stepping out of his unmarked police Tahoe, and took both suspects into custody. Additional nearby police units arrived at the scene to help in apprehending both suspects.

The two occupants were cooperative, agreed to be interviewed, and based on the investigation, they were not charged with any crime.

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit is continuing this investigation.

Our original story can be found here.

Categories: Crime, Local News, Maryland