A 23-year-old Prince George's County police officer died and another was injured when their patrol car drove off Interstate 95 during a vehicle pursuit Monday, authorities said.
Police identified the fallen officer late Monday as Adrian Morris of Laurel. The hunt continued into the night for the suspect
Morris had been with the police department for two-and-a-half years and, prior to that, had been a member of the department's Explorers program for young people who aspire to go into law enforcement, police said.
"He certainly loved this job," said Police Chief Mark Magaw. "This job is not an easy job by any means, but these officers were doing their duties."
The officers were investigating a report of a theft from an automobile in the Laurel area about 1 p.m. Monday when they spotted a car that matched the description of the suspect vehicle, police said.
The car drove away, and the officers followed in their patrol car.
The officers were attempting to catch up with the car, described as a silver Acura with temporary tags, when their cruiser veered off the roadway and into a ditch, police said.
Morris, who was driving the cruiser, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered serious head injuries. The other officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The surviving officer, described as a young man, also in his 20s, has been with the police department for about a year. Both men worked out of the Beltsville/Laurel station.
Magaw said driving skills are emphasized at the beginning of police training.
County Executive Rushern Baker said the young man's death was a difficult blow to the close-knit police force.
"The Prince George's community will wrap its arms around these officers and their families to get through this," Baker said.
Police are looking for information that will lead to the suspect or suspect vehicle.
Morris is the 27th Prince George's County police officer to die in the line of duty, and the second during a vehicle pursuit.