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.