Wicomico County, MD – The trooper shot multiple times while conducting a traffic stop in Wicomico County, Maryland is being identified as the investigation continues.
The Maryland State Trooper who sustained multiple injuries after being shot on the scene of a traffic stop on Route 50 in Wicomico County, Maryland, on March 6, 2023, is identified 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 and was later released from TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury, Maryland. He is currently on administrative leave.
The suspect, identified as Keiford Lee Copper, III, 23, of Trappe, Maryland, was the driver of a Toyota Prius. Copper was confirmed deceased on the scene by emergency medical service personnel. His body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.
There were two other occupants in the Toyota Prius. Both were cooperative, agreed to be interviewed, and based on the investigation, were not charged with any crime.
Shortly before 10:00 p.m. on Monday, March 6, Sergeant Phillips attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a Toyota Prius, traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour on eastbound Route 50 in Mardela Springs, Maryland. Sgt. Phillips approached the passenger side of the vehicle to make contact with the driver, later identified as Keiford Copper.
During the traffic stop, Copper brandished a firearm and fired at the trooper, striking him several times. The trooper returned fire. Neither of the three occupants in the vehicle were struck. Copper fled the scene traveling eastbound on Route 50.
Moments after Copper fled the scene, police believe the two occupants bailed out of the vehicle as Copper continued to flee.
Shortly after 10:00 p.m., officers from the Delmar Police Department located the Toyota Prius in the area of eastbound Route 54 and Providence Church Road in Delmar, Maryland. Copper turned onto Elizabeth Street, a dead-end residential street in Delmar, MD, where he attempted to turn the vehicle around.
His vehicle hit the curb, crashed into two vehicles, and came to rest after hitting a tree. Police located Copper alone inside the vehicle. He was slumped over the wheel with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. No shots were fired by law enforcement at the scene of the crash. A handgun was recovered from the scene.
Shortly after the police-involved shooting, a citizen noticed two suspicious people on video surveillance footage at a residence located approximately five miles from the scene. The citizen provided that video footage to law enforcement. The two suspicious people matched the description of the two occupants in Copper’s vehicle at the time of the shooting.
While assisting members of the 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 in Hebron, MD.
As a recently retired Lieutenant with the Maryland State Police, this trained investigator took immediate police action. He exited his unmarked police Tahoe and took both suspects into police custody. Additional nearby police units arrived on the scene and assisted in safely apprehending both suspects.
References to an “armed citizen”, as which was initially dispatched, were inaccurate. The “armed citizen” was, in fact, an investigator with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, who was acting in his capacity as a sworn law enforcement officer.
Maryland State Police Homicide Unit continues the investigation. Upon completion, it will be presented to the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office for review.
While working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the Maryland State Police is committed to enhancing partnerships between law enforcement and the citizens we serve. Citizens who report suspicious activity often aid law enforcement in their investigations, ultimately reducing crime and improving public safety.