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Subject: Two Deputies Fatally Shot

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Date Posted: August 30, 2002 6:50:26 EDT

Two Prince George's County sheriff's deputies were fatally shot last night when they tried to serve an emergency psychiatric petition at a house in the Adelphi area, law enforcement officials said.

Someone in the house in a quiet residential neighborhood opened fire on the deputies about 9:30 p.m., officials said. The deputies had entered the house without incident, said Cpl. Teresa Laubach of the sheriff's department.

The victims were identified early today as James V. Arnaud of North Beach, in Calvert County, and Elizabeth L. MacGruder, 30, of Clinton. Arnaud, who had been on the force for almost 13 years, would have turned 54 tomorrow. MacGruder, who had a young son and had just bought a house in Clinton, joined the force in February 2001. She was working an overtime shift last night, her friends said.

"She really loved her job," said Deborah Holmes, MacGruder's aunt. "She was very sweet and very caring, and she absolutely loved what she was doing."

Investigators were looking this morning for one or two men who fled in a vehicle believed to be a silver Dodge Charger.

Laubach said sheriff's department officials could not recall a slaying in the line of duty in recent history. "This is such a tragedy for us," she said.

County Sheriff Alonzo D. Black called the slayings "the most serious tragedy to strike the office of sheriff in its 306-year history."

It was still unclear for whom the psychiatric order was issued, who requested it and whether the home's owners, James and Karen Logan, or their two college-age children were involved in the incident at 9332 Lynmont Dr., said sheriff's Lt. Col. John W. Thompson. James Logan runs a TV repair business, Logan's TV Lab, out of his home, according to county records.

MacGruder was hit in the back of the head, a police source said. Arnaud was struck in the throat. It was unclear what kind of gun was used, Black said. One deputy was shot in the living room, and the other was shot in a back bedroom, sources said. Arnaud died inside the house; MacGruder was pronounced dead late last night at Prince George's Hospital Center.

Deputies in the department typically wear bulletproof vests on duty, Laubach said, but it was unclear whether the two killed last night were wearing the vests. Primary duties of the department, which has 147 deputies, include serving warrants, transporting prisoners and handling evictions and other landlord-tenant disputes, Laubach said.

About three years ago, a deputy was grazed by a bullet during an eviction.

Serving warrants "is a part of our duties every day, and most of the time it's done without a problem," Laubach said.

An emergency psychiatric order is a document that has to be signed by a judge and is ordinarily requested by a family member, doctor or law enforcement official, officials said.

In last night's case, the deputies arrived to escort the subject of the order to a hospital for psychiatric treatment, Laubach said.

As news of the deaths crackled over police scanners across the region, more than a hundred law enforcement officers gathered at the entrance to the hospital center. Everyone from state police officers to small-town police rookies filled every available place to stand outside the emergency room. Some cried, others hugged. All were silent.

Just before midnight, Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry, Police Chief Gerald M. Wilson and Sheriff Black went into the hospital waiting room to console relatives.

A similar scene unfolded on Lynmont Drive minutes after the shooting. Dozens of officers and investigators from the sheriff's department, county police and state police -- along with a police helicopter hovering above -- arrived in the neighborhood.

Neighbors left dinner tables and stood outside in bare feet trying to glean any information they could about the shooting. "We're just amazed that this would happen on our street," a road of single-family homes and well-tended back yards, said Dorayne Heyler, who lives around the corner from the Logans and is block chairman for the neighborhood.

Residents on the street said the Logans are good neighbors. They have lived at Lynmont Drive and Buck Lodge Road since they bought the little brick home off of Riggs Road in 1986. The couple is a familiar sight in the large yard, tending to the rhododendrons and hanging plants or hosting backyard barbecues, a neighbor said.

"They are very nice people," one neighbor said. "I know they used to have religious meetings at the house several years ago."

The neighbor saw emergency medical workers take two stretchers into the Logan home last night, then take two bodies out.

"Are the Logans okay? They are such nice people," said the neighbor, who believed it was the residents who were hurt and was stunned to learn that sheriff's deputies had been in the house. "I can't imagine why they would have sheriffs there. They are such good people, who have lived here for years."

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