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General News Wed, 1 Nov 2000

Ghanaian Wanted in Trooper Shooting

Manhunt for Suspect in Trooper Shooting

Washington, D.C. --Investigators say they know who they're looking for in Monday’s shooting death of Maryland State Trooper Edward Toatley in the District.

The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Kofi Orleans-Lindsay, who lived in the Silver Spring area of Montgomery County. An arrest warrant has been issued charging him with first-degree murder while armed.

The search for Orleans-Lindsay now extends from the District up to Baltimore, with Maryland Police Department, Maryland State Police and the FBI involved.

Orleans-Lindsay, a native of Ghana, is reportedly well known to authorities.

Assistant Police Chief William McManus says he has five arrests dating back to 1994 for charges including drug dealing, burglary and paternity violations. He's also currently wanted for failing to make paternity payments.

Authorities say a house was searched in Montgomery County on Tuesday. They did not elaborate, or say what they found there. However, police did find Orleans-Lindsay's Mercedes at Fourth and Aspen streets in Northeast—where he had dropped the vehicle off prior to being picked up by Toatley on Monday night.

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McManus says it's unclear whether the suspect knew Toatley was a trooper.

On Tuesday afternoon, Orleans-Lindsay’s brother told our news department his family is embarrassed that his brother could have committed such a crime. His mother pleaded with her son to turn himself in.

“If what he did is wrong, let him face the music. Let him face the law,” she said.

Toatley, 37, died late Monday night after he was shot while working with a drug task force in Northeast Washington, state police said.

Toatley, a decorated 16-year veteran of the force, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. on Monday at Washington Hospital Center.

He leaves behind a wife, an 18-month-old daughter and two sons, ages 5 and 18.

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"Ed was a dedicated Maryland state trooper who loved his family, his fellow troopers and he loved serving and protecting the people of Maryland," said state police Superintendent Col. David B. Mitchell, who was with Toatley's family at the trooper's bedside when he died.

"He gave his all tonight, and will forever be known as a fallen hero of the Maryland State Police."

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a spokesman for Washington's Metropolitan Police Department, said Toatley was working with a drug task force called Safe Streets, that also includes the FBI and Prince George's County police.

Gentile said the trooper apparently was in his unmarked car with the suspect near Douglas Street and Queen's Chapel Road when Toatley gave drug money to Orleans-Lindsay. The suspect then left the car, as though he was going to get the drugs. However, Orleans-Lindsay returned a minute later at about, at around 8:30 p.m., opened the passenger-side door and shot Toatley in the head.

The suspect fled on foot.

Maryland State Police said Toatley joined the investigation into the drug trades of Washington and Prince George's County several weeks ago. He had already made several drug buys earlier Monday while working undercover.

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After the shooting, Toatley was taken to Washington Hospital Center's trauma unit, where he arrived in critical condition. D.C. police said he was immediately taken into surgery.

State police spokesman Greg Shipley said D.C. police were handling the murder investigation. State police also said the Safe Streets Task Force will continue the drug investigation.

Police are offering a $36,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Orleans-Lindsay. And Maryland Governor Parris Glendening said he is offering a $25,000 reward.

FBI spokesman Pete Gulotta declined comment and referred all questions to police.

Toatley was the president of the Coalition of Black Maryland State Troopers. He had participated in a fund-raising event two weeks ago for the Maryland chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, a group that supports families of troopers killed on the job.

He is the 38th Maryland trooper to die in the line of duty.

On Tuesday, Glendening issued an order to fly the Maryland flag at half-staff in Toatley’s honor.

The order will remain in effect until sunset of the day Toatley is buried. The state police say funeral arrangements are not complete.

D.C. police are asking that anyone with information on the murder call Fifth District Police at (202) 727-4504, or Crimesolvers at 1-800-673-2777.

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