Hundreds of police troopers from across the country—some from as far away as Arizona—filed into Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens Friday to pay their last respects to Trooper Shaft S. Hunter.
Hunter, 39, died in the line of duty on May 21. He crashed into a tractor-trailer along southbound Interstate 95 in Howard County, according to Superintendent of State Police Col. Terrence B. Sheridan. The investigation into his death is ongoing.
On Friday Hunter’s friends and family members gathered to celebrate his life in a traditional police burial that featured bagpipe players, a gun salute and an honor guard presentation at the Fallen Heroes Memorial section of the Timonium cemetery.
"He was the ideal friend, the ideal coworker, and the best family man," said State Trooper First Class Robert Royer. "He would do anything in the world for you. Nobody was a harder worker. Nobody had a bigger heart."
As the bagpipes played, troopers and officers from states ranging from Vermont to Arizona filed in, flags in hand. Gov. Martin O’Malley ordered that the flag be flown at half-staff through Friday night.
Hunter’s casket was carried to its final resting place by U.S. Marines and flanked by fellow troopers from his Waterloo Barracks and classmates from the Maryland State Police Academy.
Hunter was recruited by the Maryland State Police out of the U.S. Marine Corps. He had served as a Marine from 1994 to 2000. He later joined the Maryland State Police K-9 unit.
His German shepherd, Bear, was brought to the funeral as well. Bear, 8, retired from police duty in 2009 and was customarily given to Hunter's family. Hunter is survived by his wife and six children.
The echoes of drums and pipes in the Timonium cemetery have become all too familiar in recent weeks. Dignitaries, servicemen and women, and friends and family have met at Fallen Heroes Memorial to honor those who have died in the line of duty.
Even former Gov. William Donald Schaefer's interment was held in a courtyard amid the cemetery mausoleum.
The last Maryland State Police trooper to die in the line of duty was on June 11, 2010. Trooper Wesley Brown was working as an off-duty security guard at a Prince George’s County Applebee’s when he was shot and killed.