LAUREL, Md. (WJZ)—State police are trying to figure out what caused the crash that killed one of their own.

Weijia Jiang shows us how loved ones are remembering the trooper.

What a difficult day it’s been for this trooper’s family and his police family, who say he was killed doing what he loved.

Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter, 39, died serving Maryland. Police say he crashed his patrol car around 2:40 a.m. Saturday  in what appears to be a pursuit.

“A witness told investigators he was passed by a motorcycle at high speed, and right behind it was a marked Maryland State Police,” said Col. Terrence Sheridan, Maryland State Police.

Investigators say Hunter’s car then struck a tractor trailer parked on the shoulder of southbound I-95 just south of Route 32. The vehicle was shredded to pieces.

The street in front of Hunter’s Laurel home is lined with cars, as loved ones come together to grieve. One family member tells WJZ it’s too soon. They’re too emotional to talk about the tragedy.

Hunter had six children, ages 4 to 19, who he partly raised in the Laurel house.

Records show he was recently separated from his wife and was living in a Reisterstown apartment.

Friends from both neighborhoods are stunned.

“Just knowing six kids lost their father is horrible,” said Jason Sippel, Hunter’s neighbor. “It’s, I think, the worst part of it.”

“When you see someone in authority around, you feel a lot more comfortable,” said Laura Cuffia, neighbor. “Not just that to know they’re friendly and down to earth. He had an awesome sense of humor.”

The 11-year Maryland State Police veteran was also known for leadership.  Hunter was elected president of his recruit class. Before that, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps after serving six years.

“All of our hearts and prayers go out to Trooper Hunter and his family,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley.” Our troopers do extremely difficult and dangerous jobs. Every single day they put their lives on the line for us.”

Police are looking for the motorcyclist Hunter may have been pursuing. All they know at this point is the driver was wearing a white helmet.

The last Maryland State Trooper who died in the line of duty was TFC Wesley Brown, who was shot and killed at a restaurant last June.

Comments (49)
  1. Ms, G says:

    Died in the line of duty. May he rest in peace. God be with his family and friends.

  2. coworker says:

    RIP you where the best friend/brother we could ask for. u will be missed. Thanks for the support and motivation that u gave me and others and the inspiration to do things that we could only imagine. We love you and u will truly be missed.

  3. Steve says:

    Horrible news, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this tremendously difficult time.

    1. Anne says:

      What sad day. I am with you Steve.

  4. Rebecca says:

    As a police officer’s wife, this is my biggest fear. Thoughts and prayers to his family.

  5. Iris says:

    Officer Hunter was a extremely good person . He had a heart of gold and would give you the shirt on his back . He loved his job and loved helping people . He will be missed very much . My heart goes out to his family and friends and they are in my prayers .

  6. dawn says:

    Someone just lost their life. Show a little respect.

    1. baltimore resident says:

      ??? Show a little respect who was showing any disrespect????

  7. Katherine says:

    It so makes me cry when I know that this awesome life was taken from us because an idiot on a bike things that they are invisible….So hard to comprehend!! I will pray for his immediate family and his extended family – everyone who wears a badge.

    1. cleanndserene says:

      i agree…this is terrible,and did not need to end this way if that useless idot just followed 1 simple rule..maybe now,atleast i hope n pray that this will change some bike riders minds about thinkn they are”invisiable”and can do whatever speed they please because they’re on a bike..i love bikes but i love life more…RIP

  8. Alex - co-worker says:

    TFC Hunter will be remembered a good man. Its unfortunate that this tragic event had to happen, but it will soon be known by all that he was such a good man. His family will see how much he was loved by his MSP family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family in this difficult time.

  9. Tim says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with this Troopers family of course but what in the world was this idiot Truck Driver thinking? No warning lights for a place where you are only suppose to pull over for emergencies and emergency vehicles on an expressway. Sitting there in the dark, near a rest stop too, checking his directions? I woudl just about call that vehicular homicide. Look, there is a reason not to do a routine stop on an expressway to read a map or even talk on a cell phone do to the speed of the traffic. Its why pedestrains and bikes are not allowed on expressways and not only that there is an issue with merging back into a traffic again from the side of the road. That is what exits and rest stops are for. Just another Dumb Trucker, he probably lied to the officers and was a sleep at the time of the crash.

    1. joe says:

      Tim needs to hate and blame ….so sad……Too much of that in the world…God be with you Trooper..

    2. Laurel says:

      why blame the truck driver? this trooper was in a high speed chase after a motorcycle 2:30 AM…hello….seriously….this trooper should never have chased a bike…do you really think he would of caught him? high speed chases are unnecessary such as this story proves.

      1. Danie says:

        hello… seriously…….. why should’nt he have done his job? What sense does that make? If he did nothing and the motorcyclist caused another accident that killed someone else, then you and others would be on here talking about how a State Trooper did nothing to stop a speeding motorist who sped past him. He was a State Trooper it is his job to pursue people who break the law and the last time I checked speeding was against the law and motorcyles and their drivers were not exempt. He was attempting to make a traffic stop that could have potentially killed someone else if not himself ( meaning the driver of the motorcycle). And why blame anyone, all of the facts are still not put together and may never be. The truth is between Shaft and GOD and it is not for anyone else to cast judgement. What IS unnecessary is comments like yours when a family is dealing with the loss of their loved one.

      2. Gretchen says:

        Honestly, this should Not be about blaming anyone. Not the trucker, the trooper or the biker. High speed chases are irresponsible for all departments.

        Support should be shown to the family as they will need it in the months and years to come.

    3. Joe says:

      Evidently you have no respect for truckers. I am a trucker and I am far from DUMB. You better remember something sir…Everything you have or buy, like your clothes your food your car the gas for the car a truck driver took it to where you bought it. So we have an impact on your everyday life.. We are far from perect we are human we make mistakes but dont blame the troopers death on the trucker.. Look at all the facts first…Here are a few things you might want to think about. Was he broke down or was he out of hours…There was a reason he was there…If he was out of hours and he parked there maybe he didnt want to get in trouble..You ask….Why didnt he go to a truck stop or rest area? Heres your answer… Ever think that the truck stop or rest area was full? What are we supposed to do then? We have to sleep.. We are human. Just remember if you have it a trucker brought it to you…That was my nice version…

    4. Jihn Smith says:

      It was an unfortunate accident, and they happen to everyone. The police officer judgment is in question for trying to catch a motorcyclist.

  10. Patrick k says: (1st responder wireless news) extends our deepest condolences to the troopers family and friends. It is always a sad day when one of our brothers loses his life in pursuit of justice. Enjoy your time in heaven brother. We have the watch from here. R.I.P

  11. Tony says:

    god bless his soul and may god help his freinds and family cope with the lost of a loved one.

  12. Jo Ann Cissin says:

    A true hero! May you R.I.P.! I send my heartfelt sympathy to your precious family. It deeply makes me sad to hear about one of our finest taken away from us.

  13. Holly says:

    This is just awful, God must have needed him for something else. May he R.I.P. and his family have the strength to go on…

  14. FAMILYMAN says:


  15. Mike says:

    I am saddened to hear of the loss of yet another Public Safety Officer in Maryland.

    God Bless you TFC Hunter, and may he watch over your family and guide them thru this horrific time in their lives. RIP and thank you for keeping us safe in Maryland.

  16. George Mouring says:

    Dear Trooper Hunter: May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rain fall soft upon your fields. And until we all meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  17. aacp says:

    RIP brother and may god comfort your family during their time of grieving

  18. Kandice Ruff Brune says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with his family in their time of grief.

  19. 114th MSP Academy Member says:

    Thru the pain and thrith, MSP class 114 will be together for life! God bless you Shaft and your family. Truly one of MSP “Finest” Shaft Hunter
    Member MSP 114th Academy Class 2000

  20. Nikki says:

    Shaft..i cant believe ur gone..i just saw u last week. God i miss u so much, as do many others. This shouldnt of been u. One who risked his life everyday to help others, and our worse fear cam true. RIP Shaft..gone but NEVER forgotten.

  21. Pat - Retired from MSP says:

    It’s a sad day when MSP looses one of their own. My thoughts and prayers goes out to his family and the MSP family. I worked for the MSP for 15 years before retiring and seen to many of these. It never gets easy. God keep all of the MSP Troopers safe.

  22. BJ'S CO-WORKER says:

    A Sad day for all of us at BJ’s in Columbia and his MSP Family and friends. our thoughts and prayers are with his family. I can only imagine what a difficult time this must be for them. its crazy how he was just in the store last week talking and joking with us Trooper Shaft Hunter will truly be missed.:(:( p.s. I HOPE THEY FIND THIS PERSON AND BRING HIM TO JUSTICE!!!!!!!!!!

  23. rick barnes says:

    RIP from a fellow officer … so truly sad.

  24. Richard says:

    my heart goes out to the family of this fallen Hero,and the MSP
    I pray that the person or persons invoulved in this traggic accidentt
    has the Guts and decincy to term themselves in,

  25. Heidi McGahan says:

    Our deepest sympathy to the family, friends and co-workers of Trooper Shaft Hunter. May God help you all through this time of sorrow.

  26. mark says:

    It will be interesting to see what caused this accident.

  27. Your Mother says:

    High speed chases are outlawed in other places for good reason. No matter what the crime was this death was not worth the risk taken. This is a senseless death and great loss but for none the better. The State should re-evaluate this kind of mindless chase and catch behavior.

    1. Jim says:

      Once again, here we go lets start the blame game. YOU WERE NOT THERE! So lets not monday morning quater back!

      1. Danie says:

        Shaft S Hunter was a good man who came from a good family. My condolences to his mother, father and two brothers. This is very sad to hear about and even worse to read. It disturbs me to read comments stating that this was a “mindless chase”. As a former Marine and a father of six, I am sure that he made sense of the pursuit. No one knows why he decided to pursue that vehicle, but whatever the reason he had one. And yes he took a risk that none of us need to question,its part of his job. He is a State Trooper who was ON DUTY doing what he gets paid to do. To protect and serve, so with that said re-evaluate your thinking remember that he was pursuing a high speed vehicle that could have potentially caused another accident and killed others instead of himeslf. Thank GOD for Troopers, Police, Firemen and ALL emergency personel who risk their lives to protect ours.

  28. Patty Williams says:

    Oh, this is sos tragic. I just can’t begin to imagine the real pain this family and thier friends are enduring. A lifetime impact.

  29. Marcus says:

    Prayer – how to do nothing and still feel like you are doing something to help.

  30. Sonny says:

    As a fire fighter we work with trooperss all the time and it hurts us too when one has fallen. Our thoughts and prayers goes out to this troopers family as well as all his brothers and sisters all over the world. Thank you for keeping our roads safe. You will be missed but not forgotten. R.I.P. my friend.

  31. Sonny says:

    Yes you will be missed but this is not good bye my friend but I’ll see you later. God Bless.

  32. ravenmaniac881 says:

    It is sad that many have come to the conclusion that the Trooper was at fault for doing his sworn duty to the citizens of the state of Maryland. Trooper Shaft’s death will not go for naught. Someone will come forward with information as to the identity of the biker. The problem is….the courts will slap him on the wrist and let him continue to do what he did time and time again.

    The real story here is that 6 children will have to go on for the rest of their lives without their father. Thank God that the Md. State Police will never let them forget that their father was doing what he loved up to the time of his death. RIP brother, . EOW 5/21/2011 RIP.

  33. MTA POLICE says:


  34. bjs coworker and friend says:

    Shaft was a wonderfull person. Ever since i met him i looked up to him…

    Shaft you will be missed and never forgotten thanks for everything you did in msp and the marines. Your in gods army now god bless you and your family.R.I.P

  35. buzz says:

    what a shame but he chose to do this job

  36. Maria Vitale says:

    My deepest sympathy for your family, as well as Mr. Hunter. I will pray for him, his wife and the 6 children he leaves behind. I was in awe of the Honor, and Respect shown along the Procession route. I watched from the SEMINARY AVENUE OVERPASS, where a Firetruck was parked, showing their Respect, by standing atop the truck, with our GREAT USA AND MD FLAGS. I know the pain of your loss, just losing my dad 4 months ago, but I was blessed to have him many years. Take comfort in knowing that so many came to honor your son, husband, father, etc., and they will be there for you, comfort you. And God loves you all too. R.I.P OFFICER HUNTER.

  37. rIester mindestverzinsung says:

    Riester healthcare business ; diabetic person testing materials regarding far better self monitoring associated with blood sugar ; breastfeeding gear – your ins and outs ; get the true facts upon some common health care …wohn riester nachteile

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