Jed R. Bylsma of Gettysburg, Pa., former Montgomery County, Md., officer, fatally shoots himself at traffic stop

10:39 PM, Apr 9, 2012   |    comments
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EASTON, Md. (WUSA) - State Police are investigating the death of a man employed as a police officer in Maryland who shot himself early Monday after being stopped by a trooper in Talbot County for speeding and suspicion of driving under the influence.

The man is identified as Jed R. Bylsma, 30, of Gettysburg, PA. Bylsma was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m. Monday, a Maryland state trooper from the Easton Barrack was patrolling on westbound Rt. 50 near Rt. 404 when an eastbound vehicle registered in his radar unit at a high speed. The trooper turned on the vehicle and stopped it near Skipton Creek. The driver, who was the only occupant of the Nissan, was identified as Bylsma through his Pennsylvania driver's license. Bylsma told the trooper he was an officer with the Montgomery County Police Department. During the initial contact, the trooper observed signs indicating the driver was operating under the influence.

 Montgomery county police confirm Jed Bylsma was an officer in the department since 2003. He had most recently been assigned to patrol in the 3rd district (Silver Spring). Police told 9News Now that Bylsma had been on administrative leave, on a no-duty status for about one year.

The trooper returned to his patrol car and called for a backup to respond. During this time, Bylsma drove off from the stop and continued eastbound on Rt. 50 at a high rate of speed with the trooper in pursuit. The responding trooper deployed stop sticks on Rt. 50 at Airport Rd. Bylsma's vehicle struck the stop sticks and several tires were deflated. The vehicle rolled to a stop on the eastbound shoulder of Rt. 50.

The two troopers on the scene behind the vehicle gave repeated orders for the driver to exit his vehicle. When he did not, the troopers approached the car. They found Bylsma unresponsive and saw what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head. Troopers saw a handgun near Bylsma's hand in the center console of the car. EMS personnel were summoned to the scene and emergency care was provided, but Bylsma was deceased.

Maryland State Police notified Montgomery County Police officials. The investigation is continuing.

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