Trooper family bonds in tragedy
The shooting of Maryland State Trooper Michael S. Nickerson a decade ago still resonates on the Eastern Shore. Michael, killed along with a sheriff's deputy trying to get Frank Zito to turn down his stereo, was a member of the small Centreville police force.
He had wanted to become a state trooper, and five years after his death, his brother Phillip became a trooper to fulfill the dream. Last month, Phillip's son, Tanner, also became a trooper, bringing the family together on the force. Read the full story here.
I followed Tanner for a day. The young trooper, in his first few days of field training, had just started driving and pulling over cars. His family talked about the tragedy, and their commitment to law enforcement.
The story was big news at the time. Zito, known as "Crazy Frank," was an oddity in the small town and a frequently had issues with police and neighbors. A jury rejected his insanity defense and he was sentenced to death, but died of lung cancer a year after the incident.
Nickerson's death raised questions about how to best treat the mentally ill and told of a tragedy involving two police officers and their families. It's a story that continues to this day, with father and son now colleagues, in adjacent barracks, serving to honor a brother and an uncle.
The photo by The Sun's Kenneth K. Lam shows young Tanner Nickerson on just his sixth car stop of his career. With him is Cpl. Frank J. Stanco. The video is of Phillip Nickerson talking about his brother's death at a fallen hero ceremony in May.