Maryland State Trooper Shot While Conducting A Traffic Stop On Ex-Con whom Dorchester States Attorney Leonard gave Sweet Plea Deal in 2022

Maryland State Trooper Shot While Conducting A Traffic Stop On Ex-Con whom Dorchester States Attorney Leonard gave Sweet Plea Deal in 2022

VIENNA, MD – The Maryland States Police report that an ex-con convicted of illegally carrying a handgun in Cambridge, Md., who shot a Maryland State Trooper multiple times before fleeing a traffic stop, was found dead in Delmar, Md after he took his own life.

The Maryland State Police Trooper was shot while conducting a traffic stop in Wicomico County and is not being identified. He was transported to TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury for medical treatment of injuries sustained in the shooting, was treated, and released. He is an 18-and-a-half-year veteran of the Maryland State Police.

The suspect is identified as Keiford Lee Copper III, 23 (DOB 11/01/1999), of 29639 Backtown Road, Trappe, Maryland. He was the driver of a Toyota Prius at the time of the incident. Copper was confirmed deceased on the scene by emergency medical service personnel from Hebron.

There were two other occupants in the Toyota Prius that Police say are not being identified at this time but are in police custody.

Shortly before 10:00 p.m. on March 6, 2023, a Maryland State Trooper from the Easton Barrack attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a Toyota Prius on eastbound Route 50 near the Vienna Scale House. The trooper approached the vehicle’s passenger side to make contact with the driver.

During the traffic stop, the driver brandished a firearm and fired at the trooper, striking him several times. The trooper returned fire but, due to his wounds, failed to have any of his shots hit the mark resulting in none of the occupants in the vehicle being struck. The driver fled the scene traveling eastbound on Route 50.

A trooper on his way home heard the broadcast and immediately responded to the scene. Upon his arrival, he found the injured trooper suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He provided the trooper with medical treatment on the scene until EMS arrived. The wounded trooper was subsequently transported by ground to the hospital.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m., officers from the Delmar Police Department located the suspect vehicle in the area of eastbound Route 54 and Providence Church Road in Delmar. Officers followed the vehicle to the 600 block of Elizabeth Street, a dead-end residential street in Delmar.

The driver, later identified as Copper, attempted to turn the vehicle around. He hit the curb, crashed into two vehicles, and came to rest after hitting a tree. Police surrounded the vehicle, and observed Copper alone in the vehicle and slumped over the wheel with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say that no shots were fired by law enforcement at the scene of the crash.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. on March 7, 2023, a 9-1-1 call reported two unidentified men with hooded sweatshirts walking around a neighborhood in Hebron. Troopers from the Salisbury Barrack responded to the area and located the two men walking on Porter Mill Road toward Route 50. They were taken into police custody without incident.

State Police Homicide Unit investigators and Crime Scene technicians responded and are conducting the investigation. Police say a gun was found in the Toyota Prius.

Maryland State Police from the Eastern Troop responded to both scenes. K-9 and Maryland State Police Aviation Command also responded to assist. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Personnel Assistance personnel responded to set up detours.

Investigators briefed the Wicomico County State’s Attorney and will forward their probe to the prosecutor when complete.

The State Police Internal Affairs Unit is conducting a concurrent investigation. The trooper involved in the shooting is now on administrative leave.

Maryland court records show that Copper entered a guilty plea on February 14, 2022, to illegally possess a handgun when arrested by the City of Cambridge Police Officer Chad Mothersell. In the Valentine’s Day sweetheart plea deal with Dorchester County Interim States Attorney Amanda Leonard, Copper was sentenced to two years in prison with all but six months suspended.


Copper entered a guilty plea in a plea deal with then-Dorchester County States Attorney William Jones, now a Circuit Court Judge, on August 2, 2021, to once again having a loaded handgun in a vehicle when arrested by Cambridge Police Officer C. Smith.

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