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Town shows support for wounded trooper

October 21, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

In a move that surprised police, spectators rushed to cruisers participating in the Grand Feature Parade in Martinsburg, W.Va., on Saturday to donate money for a West Virginia State Police trooper shot last week, Capt. Kenneth Lemaster of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said.

Lemaster said the department collected more than $2,000 for the Trooper Elswick Fund in a spontaneous show of support.

Sheriff's Department cruisers drove through the parade with posters announcing the fund taped to car windows, but Lemaster said police had no idea people would stop the parade to donate.

"It was great. It was a great support for the state police as well as all of the police agencies," Lemaster said.

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Lemaster said so many people contributed, the parade was behind schedule.

"They just spontaneously started doing it," he said. "They basically overwhelmed the cars. You basically could only go a few feet at a time."

Lemaster said the spectators donated whatever they had, whether it was dollar bills or pennies.

"We just kept putting the money on the front seat with us," Lemaster said.

Lemaster said he was in the cruiser behind Sheriff Randy Smith and that Smith's cruiser was surrounded with people most of the time.

The parade's grand marshal, J. Eddie Peck of "All My Children," also donated autographed items to the Elswick family, Lemaster said.

Elswick was shot in the head after he and other troopers responded to a domestic violence call near Hedgesville on Oct. 10. He remains in critical condition at Washington County Hospital Trauma Center.

Police allege that David Eugene Munday, 37, used a .22 magnum bolt-action rifle to shoot Elswick.

The fund has been set up to help defray the costs incurred by members of Elswick's family.

Checks made payable to The Robert Elswick Fund can be dropped off at The Inwood Eatery in Inwood, W.Va.; the Warm Springs Eatery in Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Gold's Gyms in Hagerstown, Martinsburg and Charles Town, W.Va.

They can also be mailed to the state police barrack at 14 Trooper Drive, Martinsburg, W.Va., 25401.

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